Pink lemonade party

It has certainly been a long time between posts. My bad.

This new (financial) year, I am recommitting to blogging, starting with a post on the ‘Pink Lemonade’ themed first birthday party we held for my daughter earlier in the year.

Most of my ideas and inspiration came from this gorgeous party that I found online http://catchmyparty.com/parties/acs-lemonade-stand

The theme was perfectly suited to a first birthday and ideal for a summertime party in sunny Perth, WA.

Party highlights included hubby’s replica pink lemonade stand from leftover building materials and the strawberry and lemon macarons I made as party favours.

Homemade food items included slow cooked shredded pork rolls with spicy BBQ sauce, pizzas, chicken cutlets, mini quiches and sausage rolls.

Dessert was a table full of deliciousness – including a cake designed by yours truly and brilliantly executed by my mother in law.

We had a great day and the birthday girl was in her element. After years in corporate events I can honestly say that kids parties are more challenging … but also a lot more fun!

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My macaron journey continues…

I’m quite proud of my latest attempt at macarons. I made a batch of my own flavour creation ‘Violet Rose’ (violet shell, rose flavoured centre) for a high tea to celebrate my friend’s engagement. Two of my girlfriends believed they were store bought and thought I was lying when I said I’d made them.

I chose to take this as a compliment. But then I’m a glass half full kinda gal.

In short, I’m pretty happy that my macarons are finally starting to look (and taste) the part.

I’m making one more batch on the weekend to ensure the recipe is foolproof. If they’re as lovely as this batch, a recipe post will follow.

If anyone has any flavour ideas, I’d love to hear them!

 

 

 

(Almost) successful macarons and salted caramel recipe

Turns out ninth time’s a charm when it comes to me and macarons.

I finally made a batch that were edible. No, more than that – they were actually quite lovely. They were far from the best macarons I’ve eaten, I still found the shells rather hollow, but they’re trending in the right direction. Unfortunately I’m not confident enough to post the recipe, I’ll do that once I’ve had another successful batch or two. Stay tuned.

But I will share the recipe I used for the salted caramel filling because…ummm, salted caramel!!! I only learnt of salted caramel’s existence a couple of years ago and have no idea where it came from, but dearly hope it never leaves my life. It is definitely a treat (as you can tell from the ingredients list) but perfect for the teensy portion you get wedged between a macaron.

If you’re a caramel making novice like I was, you might need a couple of attempts to work out when the liquid is hot enough to take off the heat. I had a batch crystallise on me because I left it on the heat too long. By the way, my husband the chemist used the word ‘crystallised’, I had no idea what that meant beforehand. Basically, the mixture looked like tiny crystals (fancy that) and became almost impossible to stir. Fail.

But the end result was worth waiting for. Here’s the recipe (taken from Annie Rigg’s ‘Macarons’) for salted caramel.

You’ll need –

1/3 cup caster sugar

My macarons are getting there…slowly

2 tablespoons water

1/3 cup light brown sugar

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup double cream

1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes

Putting it all together –

Put the caster sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan over low heat and let the sugar dissolve completely. Bring to the boil, then cook until the syrup turns an amber coloured caramel.

Remove from heat and add the sugar, butter and cream. Stir to dissolve, then return to the low heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes, until the caramel has thickened and will coat the back of a spoon.

Remove from the heat, add the salt, pour into a bowl and leave until completely cold and thick.

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I now have a large bowl of salted caramel left over as this recipe made far too much for my 30 macarons. Any suggestions on what to do with it?

I hate macarons

I lie. I actually love them. I love biting into their deceptively hard looking shell only to be delightfully surprised by the soft almondy texture within. Just when you think that one teensy bite can’t contain any more amazingness, you get a burst of flavour from the gooey ganache or heavenly buttercream filling. They are tiny, sugar-filled circles of heaven. Continue reading