Mondayitis

Happy Monday!

I hope you all had a lovely weekend and are feeling refreshed and ready to take on the week! After a weekend filled with wedding planning, baking, chores and friends, I’m rearing to go this Monday morning – or will be once I lay my hands on a coffee! Here are five things to help get your week off to a good start…

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Homemade butterbeer

homemade-butterbeer

Recipe adapted from Bakingdom

Ingredients

  • 3 cans creaming soda
  • 3 tsp imitation butter flavouring (optional – I did not use this)
  • 1 cup cream
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 ½ tsp clarified butter (click here for method)

Method

  1. Pour cans of creaming soda into large mugs. If using butter flavouring, add this now and mix well.
  2. Whip cream until it begins to thicken. Add sugar and whip until soft peaks form.
  3. Gently stir in vanilla and clarified butter.
  4. Scoop on top of each mug of creaming soda

 

Butterbeer cupcakes

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In case you didn’t know, I’m a huge Harry Potter fan – I got the first book from Santa back when I was nine and have been hooked ever since. I re-read the series every year, sometimes going chronologically like a normal person but often working my way through in a bizarre order – favourite to least favourite (in case you’re wondering, that means going 7-6-3-4-1-2-5).

So when we were planning our trip to America, it was a no brainer that we would head down to Florida and spend a bit of time in Orlando. Why? Because it’s the home of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – a section of Universal Studios Orlando that brings the books to life. Literally. As you step through the gates it’s like entering another world – from the cobbled streets and twisted chimneys to the snow covered rooftops dotted with owls, everything looks just as you would imagine.

Kevin and I spent a day trawling through the stores, going on the rides and tasting every wizarding treat the park had to offer. But the best thing? Trying butterbeer for the first time. It was delicious – a kind of buttery tasting creaming soda… but a million times better. It’s rich, sweet and only to be drunk in moderation – as we learned the hard way after throwing back two in quick succession, then having to spend an hour sitting in the courtyard of the Three Broomsticks while the nausea passed! Here’s a glimpse of my first taste of butterbeer, perched on a windowsill outside Honeydukes:

tasting-butterbeer

Since returning from our trip, both Kevin and I have been dreaming of having butterbeer again – unfortunately, getting the real deal means another trip to the other side of the world. So this weekend I decided to try and bring a little bit of Harry Potter magic to Auckland by making a batch of rich butterbeer cupcakes, washed down with a homemade version of the wizarding drink itself.

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Lemon & poppy seed sugar cookies

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Tomorrow is a public holiday in New Zealand. But “holiday” is a bit of a loose term for this one – it’s a day of national remembrance.

It’s ANZAC Day.

One day each year where we take some time to remember the people that made – and continue to make – it possible for us to live the way we do. To be a free nation. To live free of oppression. To be New Zealanders.

Tomorrow marks the day the ANZACs landed on the shores of Gallipoli in 1915 – a battle that would see the shoreline painted red in one of the deadliest campaigns of the War. The massacres of that day knitted together military and civilians as a single country, fighting for a common goal. No longer were we a country of emigrants, a simple member of the commonwealth; we became New Zealanders.

ANZAC biscuits are the biscuit of choice for those looking to commemorate the day with a bit of baking – and with good reason. These biscuits were sent to troops by their loved ones at home – made using ingredients available even during rationing, ANZAC biscuits were hardy, long-lasting and a tasty reminder of home.

But I decided to bake something a little different this year. Without the hindrance of war-time rations, I used the symbol of a poppy to create some special sugar cookies with an ANZAC twist. The result? Lemon and poppy seed cookies decorated with a bright red poppy.

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Banana split cupcakes

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Have you noticed how as the weather cools down, your preference in food totally changes? While just a week or so ago I was happy having salads for lunch and wraps for dinner, the though now makes me cringe – bring on soup and casseroles! The same goes for desserts. While ice cream sounds great in the summer months, I have no interest in it come autumn and winter.

Take an ice cream sundae for example. While I love the flavours of a good banana split, I can’t bear the thought of eating one at the moment – cold banana, freezing ice cream… no thanks! But what if you could make a warmer version of a banana split? That would make a great winter treat, right?

Well, that’s exactly what today’s cupcake is – a banana split in cupcake form! I deconstructed the flavours of a banana split and rebuilt it as a cupcake without a scoop of ice cream in sight.

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Mondayitis

Happy Monday!

After a very busy Saturday I was so glad to have a wonderfully lazy Sunday – for the first time in week’s I got to spend the morning lying in bed, catching up on my favourite blogs while enjoying a good coffee. Bliss! I give this relaxing Sunday full credit for feeling so perky this Monday morning – such a nice change! Whether you’re feeling energised or a little worse-for-wear, here are five things  to help make your Monday even better.

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Friends, Babies & Cake

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Friends, babies, celebrating, cake… what’s not to love about baby showers?

Yesterday Kevin and I had the pleasure of throwing a surprise baby shower for a very special family. Two of our closest friends, the wonderful Rhys and Joy, are just weeks away from welcoming the latest addition to their family – a little boy to join their beautiful 17 month-old daughter, Tilly.

To say we’re looking forward to his arrival is an understatement – we’re beyond excited, and know lots of other people are too. So while we wait the last few weeks until he finally enters the world, Kevin and I decided to surprise Joy with a party in celebration of her growing family.

With the time before the new addition arrives speeding by and weekends filling fast, Kevin and I worked with Rhys to pull together the party in little over a week.

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