The Owl Cake

13 May

I bought over 3 kilos of fondant icing because I intended to make beach huts for a bake off fundraising do at work.

But I think I overestimated my capabilities and my fondant confidence.  So instead of wimping out and wasting the fondant that I lugged all the way back to Harwich, I had to think of an alternative way to use the fondant that I purchased. I wasn’t giving up on the cake with fondant dream!  Besides, it was my birthday and bringing cake would be for a good cause.  So I had a think and regrouped.

I had a brainwave and thought, “Oooooh owls!”  I did a bit of googling and found the easiest way to make owl cake toppers.  I knew the cake would be okay (it was a vanilla sponge with a Nutella filling with a vanilla cream frosting), I just had to make it pretty.

The owls weren’t too difficult to make.  I just needed a round cookie cutter and a smarter way of looking at owls.  I must say, what a treasure trove Google can be!  After doing the cutting and a little shaping, the ingenious use of a fondant embosser and artful food colouring dotting, my owls looked cuter than I thought it was possible!

2015-05-12 23.32.09So here it is, my owl cake!  It was, truly, a hoot to make!

My owl cake

Mothers Day

10 May

“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.”- Washington Irving

She held me when I needed to be held, when I needed to feel safe. She dried my tears when my heart broke and told me everything would be okay in the end. She taught me how to read and write and made sure I treasured books so that I would learn, and never be bored on my own. She taught me how to speak so that I would find the right words to express myself. She told me the harsh realities so that I wouldn’t walk the world with rose-coloured glasses, so that I could be pragmatic too. She also taught me that kindness should always be my guiding principle. She walked with me as I grew in faith…it would take me forever to write down how much my mum has guided me and held my hand as I was growing up so that I could be independent when I grew up. I cannot say thank you enough Mama. I love you.

I am glad that I get to celebrate this amazing woman I call “Mother” twice.  Happy Mothers Day Ma!

Happy Mothers Day

It’s a girl!

4 May

So the UK celebrated the much anticipated birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s second child.  The UK has a new princess and she is to be called Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge (queue strings of Stevie Wonder’s Isn’t She Lovely).

Princess Charlotte

Hudson New York Bar and Kitchen, Colchester

26 Apr

I’m not much of a beef eater so I hardly order steaks.  If I do order anything made from beef, it would probably either a salt beef sandwich or pastrami (the more kosher, the better!).  So imagine my delight when I found out you could get a salt beef bagel from an American-inspired bar in Colchester!

I read through the menu and wondered what the food would be like.  It looked promising with club sandwiches, salt beef bagels and hotdogs on offer.  With a claim that they served fabulous Atlantic cuisine and that they were inspired by downtown Manhattan, I was looking forward to tucking into my salt beef bagel.

Well, I’ve had my salt beef bagel and I was a tiny bit underwhelmed.  The salt beef was a tad on the dry side but I guess I’ve been spoiled by the Bell & Brisket and Monty’s Deli because they made REALLY good salt beef from scratch and each sandwich would be prepared as ordered from a batch that was probably made the same day.  The space was amazing and it was big and airy.  But the concept confused me a little bit because it felt like I was walking into a southern restaurant instead of a Manhattan bar.

Will I be going back to Hudson?  I’m not sure.  Maybe their other offerings are okay, they may even be really good.  But it’s quite hard to get a salt beef sandwich wrong — if you have great salt beef to begin with.  Don’t get me wrong, the food looked okay and the coleslaw and fries that came with it were really nice.  I’m just really picky about my salt beef.  And unfortunately for them, I wasn’t too impressed.

Hudson's salt beef bagel

Now reading: The Year of Taking Chances

18 Apr

I am so far loving this book!  I think it’s mainly because I can relate to each of the characters.  I am at a crossroads in my life where I want to gain a better perspective on all the aspects of my life: my relationships, my career, my passions and my life plan.  I’ve been constantly sighing and whinging about wanting to change things and yet I am plagued by an immobilising inertia that stops me from going after what I want.

This might just be the book that I need to inspire me!  Well, realistically, if it isn’t, it’s a brilliantly written book that is definitely entertaining! :)

The Year of Taking Chances

The perfect Sunny Afternoon

13 Apr

So I apparently love the music of the Kinks!  Who knew?

Alan has brilliant taste in musicals and he’s always challenged me (in his own quiet way) to watch something different each time.  I didn’t think I was going to love Rock of Ages, but he won tickets, we went and I was standing up and jumping up and down like a mad thing towards the end of the musical.  I thought I was going to hat We Will Rock you, but I was bopping my head to each song.  I didn’t think I knew a lot of Queen song, but apparently I did!  I didn’t know what The Commitments was about.  Alan got the movie, we watched it and I fell in love with the songs.  The theatre version was even better!  I was up there dancing like a woman crazed whilst Mustang Sally was sung!

One musical I was totally unsure about Sunny Afternoon.  I wasn’t entirely sure I liked the Kinks so I wasn’t sure I’d love the musical.  But Alan had already booked tickets so we were going.  But guess what, I apparently knew more songs by The Kinks that I thought I did.  And I loved the musical.  So much so that I agreed to watch it again!

Sunny Afternoon - Stage

I was so pleased that Sunny Afternoon won Best New Musical in the 2015 Laurence Olivier awards.  Because it was well-deserved.  If you get the chance to (I think they’ve added more dates – don’t quote me as I could be very mistaken!), go and see it.  If you don’t, at least buy the CD of the London cast performing.  My favourite of favourites is the a cappella version of Days.  It will tug at your heart strings!

Harold Pinter Theatre - Sunny Afternoon

Easter Love

5 Apr

Amidst all the posts about Easter egg hunts, chocolate eggs and bunnies, I allow myself to wallow in the real meaning of Easter.  I rarely write about my faith.  But I get through all the difficult situations in my life by clinging to my faith.

I love the commercial celebration of Easter.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love all the Easter themed cakes, chocolates and all the food that people normally serve during Easter.  But to me, first and foremost, Easter is a celebration of God’s love for us.  Because God loved us so much that He allowed his son Jesus Christ to die in our place for our sins.  Easter is God’s gift to us, because through Christ’s death we are saved from eternal death, and through Christ’s resurrection, there is the hope that one day, we will be with God the Father, just as Jesus Christ rose to ascend to heaven to sit at God the Father’s right hand.

One of my favourite Easter quotes is from Basil Hume: “The great gift of Easter is hope – Christian hope which makes us have that confidence in God, in His ultimate triumph, and in His goodness and love, which nothing can shake.” 

So HAPPY EASTER everyone!

Easter is LOVE

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