24 November 2010

The gallery: Black+white=Jamosie!

I just saw Mirka's post on her Kahanka blog... how adorable is little Isabelle! As most of you know I am not a good weekly poster but I am a fan of #thegallery, and like Mirka, I have mixed race children as well.
We call ourselves 'Jamosie' which is a blend of Jamaica and Aussie... Jam-osie...as we are Jamaican and Australian!

So when I read her post I immediately thought of this poem I found a couple of years ago when teaching English. Unfortunately, the words half caste are still widely used in Australia to describe the people who have an Aboriginal Australian parent and a Anglo Australian parent. Racism angers and saddens me. I won't babble on and will close with... I LOVE LOVE LOVE this poem, I love the way it's written, the tone, the message, it's just beautiful.

As for a photo, the first one that popped in my head  was this one of me and my Dear Husband at the Black Heath fireworks for bon fire night (2010).
One day, when Xavier was 4 years old, he asked us why we were different colours. So we explained that we were like chocolate, some chocolate is white, some is brown and some is dark brown, but it's still all chocolate. People are the same. Some are white, some are light brown, some are dark brown, but we are all people.  4 year old Xavier was listening intently and then says 'Janelle is not white, she is peach!' We cracked up.

Half Caste by John Agard
Excuse me
standing on one leg
I’m half-caste.

Explain yuself
wha yu mean
when yu say half-caste
yu mean when Picasso
mix red an green
is a half-caste canvas?

explain yuself
wha yu mean
when yu say half-caste
yu mean when light an shadow
mix in de sky
is a half-caste weather?
well in dat case
england weather
nearly always half-caste
in fact some o dem cloud
half-caste till dem overcast
so spiteful dem don’t want de sun pass

ah rass?
explain yuself
wha yu mean
when yu say half-caste
yu mean tchaikovsky
sit down at dah piano
an mix a black key
wid a white key
is a half-caste symphony?

Explain yuself
wha yu mean
Ah listening to yu wid de keen
half of mih ear
Ah looking at yu wid de keen
half of mih eye
an when I’m introduced to yu
I’m sure you’ll understand
why I offer yu half-a-hand
an when I sleep at night
I close half-a-eye
consequently when I dream
I dream half-a-dream
an when moon begin to glow
I half-caste human being
cast half-a-shadow

but yu must come back tomorrow
wid de whole of yu eye
an de whole of yu ear
an de whole of yu mind.
an I will tell yu
de other half
of my story.


Love it.

11 November 2010

Easy christmas mince pies!

The kids helped me make these easy Christmas mince pies... I made the short crust pastry and they helped cut it out and put it in the tins. The filling is sooo yummy and fills the house with the real Christmas baking smell. Makes 24 mince pies and is better than ANY shop bought pie you will buy!

Find our short crust recipe on our blog! (working out how to put the link in).




Jamosie Mince Mixture
Put all of the following in a saucepan on the cooker, bring to boil then simmer for 20-30 mins.
1/2 tin of apples (or fresh if you have time)
1 tin of apricots and the juice
rind and juice of fresh orange
250 grams of sultanas/raisins
100 grams of currents
150 grams of dark brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbs butter (leave out for dairy free filling)
1tbs mixed spice
2 tbs rum or whiskey (optional)

To make the pies
Roll out the pastry between two sheets of pastry then use a big circle cookie cutter to cut circles.
Put each circle in a muffin tin.
Put 1-2 teaspoons of mince mixture into the pastry cups.
Use a star cutter to cut little stars out of the left over pastry
Bake in oven for 10 15 mins @ 180 degrees Celsius

Enjoy!

10 November 2010

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry

This is a simple recipe for sweet shortcrust pastry... you can use it for anything, pumpkin pie, jam tarts, mince pies, apple pies, cookies, whatever you like!... it's easy and so much better than the bought shortcrust pastry. I have a few extra hints and tips that will make it even easier!

Basic recipe
1 egg
100 grams sugar
200 grams of butter
300 grams of flour
1 tsp of vanilla essence
or for something different, add almond essence

Directions
1. beat the sugar and butter together
2. beat in the egg, don't worry if it looks like scrambled egg
3. mix in the flour by HAND! this is important so you get nice crunchy pastry, not chewy. It starts off a bit messy but if everything is measured accurately, not guesstimated, then it will all come together in a nice shiny soft ball.
4. Bake in the oven with the topping for about 10-15 mins. Just watch the edge of the pastry and take them out when they start to go golden brown.

Tips:
  • Roll out between two sheets of grease proof paper so you don't have to add more flour, upsetting the ingredient balance... and also keeps flour from getting all over your kitchen!!
  • Flour goes bitter when burnt so put the oven timer on!

Baking Ideas
  • Use cookie cutters to make little biscuits. This is a great one for the kids. You can mix up the dough, the leave them at the table for ages rolling out and cutting cookies.
  • Cut circles out and place in muffin tin to use as a base for jam tarts, lemon tarts, mince tarts, any topping can go in this to make something 'mini'.... NO NEED TO BLIND BAKE... just pop it in the oven! raspberry jam or lemon curd is a Jamosie Favourite!
  • roll out between the grease proof paper, line a baking tray or pie dish, blind bake for 10 mins and use as a base for pies and tarts.... pecan pie, apple pie, bakewell tarts... whatever you like!
Happy baking!!

6 November 2010

Cupcake toppers... now in our Etsy Shop!

We now have a new shop on Etsy, www.etsy.com/shop/jamosiesweet where you can now purchase our cute handmade cupcake toppers in kits! Each kit comes with enough toppers to generously decorate 12 cupcakes. Our kits  are themed with retro red, vintage pink, Hawaiian, and enchanted garden. Coming soon... the pink enchanted garden, as seen on this blog. We ship from the UK so if you are in the UK you will receive it 2-3 working days. If you are in the U.S or Australia it will take 4-6 working days.  We can customise orders with particular pieces or colours to match an event. Just drop us an email jamosiesweet@yahoo.com
  

Perfect vanilla cupcakes! UK

I have baked ALOT of cupcakes.. and I'm not talking crazy flavours, just simple vanilla cupcakes. I have also tried a lot of commercially produced cupcakes and I am ALWAYS disappointed. Too dry, no vanilla taste, that fatty feeling in the icing, and worst of all... that eggy smell!!
But, eggy taste NO MORE!! Perfect cupcakes have arrived. After much testing and trying and arranging other recipes we have the perfect recipe that gets you perfect vanilla cupcakes EVERY TIME!!

You need:
110 grams of good quality butter at room temp (Lurpak is good, lovely taste)
110 grams of castor sugar (white sugar is fine if you don't have castor)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of premium quality vanilla essence or paste
120 grams McDougalls premium sponge self-raising flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp of baking powder
1 table spoon of corn flour

Directions: there are some old-fashioned tricks
1. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the eggs, vanilla and salt.
2. measure the flours and baking powder in another bowl
3. SIFT it into the butter/sugar mix and beat in for a couple of seconds until combined.
4. Divide evenly between 12 cupcake cases to get the cupcakes that rise to just under the side of the case, or divide between 10 if you want the cupcake to really pop up over top of case
5. Bake in the oven at 170 degrees Celsius for 12 mins exactly and NO MORE. They will go dry.
6. A tip for people in Australia dealing with humidity: Leave them to cool for exactly 5 mins in the tins and the papers won't peel off. Ice them when cool with a think layer of icing that closes the cake and keeps them from drying out over night.

Easy... so easy.. perfect light and fluffy vanilla cupcakes every time.

Buttercream
Beat 250gms good tasting butter with 500grams of pure icing sugar (not the icing mix)  and 1-2 teaspoons of good tasting vanilla essence or paste until light and fluffy. Make sure butter is at room temp!

31 October 2010

Inspiration board: fashionista cupcakes

I made this mood board, the inspiration for my vintage/retro fashionista cupcakes. I love the combination of vintage blue, turquoise, red and pink... just so pretty. And the dresses with the full skirts and tight bodices... and you can't get any more feminine than pearls and roses... so classy, classic and timeless. The pictures in the mood board are not mine, I found them from other sites and blogs in google searches. 
The photos of the cupcakes are mine.





26 October 2010

Frangipani and pearl wedding cupcakes!

Fragipanis have to be one of the most sybollic summer flowers.... from beaches to gardens... from Hawaiian to Australia. They are timeless and so pretty.
Here are my frangipani and pearl cupcakes... al little combination of white, ivory and yellow... covered in shimmery edible lustre of course!


     

24 October 2010

PINK enchanted garden cupcakes

I found this fairy wrapping paper the other day and it inspired me to make pink enchanted garden cupcakes exactly like the ones I made the other day but all pink and white. You really get this wintery, marsh mellow feeling... this is my kind of enchanted garden!! Forget the pink stereotype, it's just such a pretty colour.

22 October 2010

How to make ice-creams from gum paste

 10 easy steps to making ice-creams out of gum paste!!

Make the colour for the cone, use flesh or chestnut gel to get that light brown colour, and any colour for the ice cream. I used a bit of ruby to get that 'strawberry' red colour.


Dust the inside of the mould with icing sugar. I use a paint brush so I don't get icing sugar all over the place. The packets never seem to open neatly.

Shake excess sugar out so the inside of the mould is coated evenly.


Roll a small ball of gum paste nice and smooth so when you press it into the mould it goes in easily and takes a clear impression of the pattern.
LESS IS MORE is a good rule to follow here.




Press it into the 'cone' part only, leaving room for the other colour to form the top ice-cream part.

Wipe a tiny bit of edible glue on the top of the gum paste where the 'ice-cream' will meet the 'cone'. be careful not to get it on the mould as this will stop it coming out clean.

Press them in together.


The ice-cream should pop out easily if you dusted the mould with icing sugar. In the pictures below you can see a purple ice cream i made and it's slightly disfigured compared to the other ones. It got a bit stuck and when I pulled it out it twisted and lost some of it's shape and detail. :(

You can change the 'ice-cream' colour to give the feel of different flavours. I used lemon-lime gel to get that lemon sorbet appearance and grape gel for that dark bubble gum or blueberry appearance.  Let them dry for an hour or so, so they are easier to handle and use for decorating. Dust with a bit of Lustre Dust to give them an irresistible sparkle and you're done! They are so tiny and cute!
                                                         

14 October 2010

My favourite photo

I kept seeing everyone posting on twitter #mygallery and couldn't work out what was going on! so I asked @mariannewhooley and found the origin of all the beautiful photo posts... stickyfingers1.blogspot.com

So without further ado, here is my contribution to this week's gallery... my favourite photo...

This is my favourite picture EVER. My DH snapped it. This was the first time I met my baby girl Aralia Rose. I was coming out of Anesthesia after a C-section.
She had been sucking on DH's finger for an hour and a half, waiting for me to come round.

This is my second favourite of all time, my two rugrats sitting on the verandah at our house in Australia. It was the first time she started laughing... and they havn't stopped since. They have that special sibling relationship and when they giggle, they go into thier secret sibling world.

Aralia Rose's feet... she let me paint her toe nails. I love her baby feet.

Quarrian in the summer of '10 after eating an icecream, then complained the sun was too bright.

Back in the day 2008... I was putting the clothes on the radiator to dry (see in background ha ha) and I caught this on my phone... little Q (18 mths looking up at big brother). Didn't last for long, I think he then drew on Brandon's homework and ran off to cause trouble somewhere else. Nothing's changed.

and last of all... this one... Ralie loves Xavier. She always asks him to pick her up and hugs him but as you can see, she is too heavy for him but he picks her up anyways because he adores her as much as she adores him.

Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed a sqiz at my kiddies. xo

25 September 2010

My lovely visit to Fair Cake

 The other week I FINALLY took one of the lovely Shahkita's courses at Fair Cakes. I have been ooggling and googling over her website, wondering what those pretty little cupcakes taste like. Yes, you see, when my two rugrats are alseep, instead of doing house work, I look at cupcakes online.
Anyways, so everything you read online (that is nice) is absolutely true. She is funny and experienced, and quite frankly inspirational. Like me, she is not a chef or baker, she is someone who got sick of her 9-5 job and found something she loves. Despite all the trials and tribulations, she has kept going and going and going.
I left her course feeling very inspired to keep my dream alive, to keep working at being an entrepreneur and grow my own business. Her cake making and decorating skills are all self-taught which also inspires me. If you put your heart and soul into it, a bit of hard work still pays off. I don't see that ethos here much in the UK. Our whole Aussie world is built on the 'hard work' ideologies. So it was lovely to see her hard work and inspiartional dreams instead of another 5 min scam just trying to take your ££'s.

Here are some pics I took of her lovely cupcakes which are even more breathtaking in real life than they are on her website. Mine fell out and all around in thier box in my attempt to rush off and pick up my rugrats. But still deeelishussss!!

13 September 2010

coconut cookies

My 3 yr old son LOVES to cook but I am always on the hunt for recipes that are manageable for us both: so he can DO most of the cooking and I DON'T have to do lots of cleaning up.
I found this recipe and it is a great one for kids. All you have to do is melt the butter, which I did on the hob as we don't have a microwave. But I am sure you can even let the kids measure the butter and put it in the microwave to melt, just need supervision taking it out as it will be hot.

We added 1 tbs of food colouring to the melted butter for fun. Quarrian is obsessed with colour and paint and loves when I put food colouring in their water table, or even in the bath! God bless him.

The mixture comes together like play dough so it's easy for the kids to handle and shape into flat circles. If they make mistakes or it falls apart, just put it back in the bowl and try again.

Recipe:
1 cup of self-raising flour (or substitute for gluten free flour)
3/4 cup of sugar
1 cup of desiccated coconut
1/3 cup melted butter (or non-dairy margarine to make vegan)
3-4 tbs water
optional: 1 tbs food colouring to make it freaky!

Directions:
1. melt butter
2. add all dry ingredients to bowl
3. add melted butter and water
4. mix together with a fork to start with and then your hands
5. shape about 1 tbs of dough into flat circles and put on tray, about 1-2 cm apart
6. bake in over for 12 mins at 150 degrees Celsius.

 yes, they really ARE that orange LOL

9 September 2010

The infamous Hummingbirds Bakery.

So, I finally got to go over to west London and pick-up some cupcakes from Hummingbirds Bakery. I was so excited because I find it difficult to get around central London by myself with the two babies. They don't last too long in the stroller before they want to get out and run havoc and I have to stop and feed them every 20 minutes or so!

So my friend Barbara called to say she was visiting London and can we catch up... and jackpot, she is staying in Kensington! Now I have an excuse to go all that way! AND DH is on holidays so he can keep the kids!!! Double jackpot.

So off I went and dragged Barb around until we found it. It looks simple on the map, but South Kensington is one of those tube stations that opens onto 5 different roads! Agh!

I had to get one of each so I bought a vanilla, chocolate, black bottom, carrot cake, cherry blossom and red velvet.

The carrot cupcake was divine, nice and moist texture with great cinnamon flavour, and gorgeous cream cheese frosting. Definitely a favourite. I would buy that one again.
The chocolate cupcake was ok, the icing tasted funny like it had too much cocoa powder in it, and the cake itself was a bit dry. The red velvet was better with gorgeous cream cheese frosting.

The waiter said the black bottom was the 'best one in the store'. For those of you who don't know (like me before I had a black bottom cupcake), black bottom is dark chocolate cake with a vanilla cheese cake top and cream cheese frosting. I found the chocolate cake too much and too dry. The top half of the cheese cake part was delicious, but I am partial to cheese cake, actually I LOVE cheese cake. More cheese cake on top would have been fabulous!

The vanilla cupcake was disappointing. I was expecting a 'real' fresh vanilla flavour when I bit into the cupcake but nothing, just plain butter cream. I wouldn't buy that one again.

The cherry blossom was delicious. That was also a favorite. Delicate frosting complimented by this delicate sponge, like a floral vanilla. So yum. I would definitely buy that one again.

I would say the trip was worth it! The kids ate them all when I got home and didn't seem too disappointed by the fact that there was a big bite taken out of each cupcake. :))))

17 August 2010

Healthy cupcakes??


Cupcakes are full of calories so I am testing some healthier options.

I found this recipe on a website (which I have temporarily misplaced due to the zoo that is my house).

The raspberries are delicious, but a little tart but I didn't mind. But if you are a sweet tooth,  you could swap for  blueberries or blackberries which are not so sour.

The cake itself has a bread flavour and texture, as opposed to a soft spongy cupcake texture. But the subtle flavour of the lemon and vanilla makes it tasty. The walnuts are fantastic, complementing the nuttiness of the whole wheat flour.

With only 120 calories or so per cupcake, this is definitely worth a try.



Recipe:
1 lemon (rind)
1/2 cup sugar (I substituted agave syrup which has 65% the calories of sugar)
1 cup no fat butter milk (semi-skimmed milk or soy milk)
1/3 cup canola oil
1 egg 
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup plain white flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tbs vanilla essence
2 punnets of raspberries (or approx 1 1/2 cup of frozen ones)
100grams walnuts (about a handful)

Directions
1. mix the lemon rind with the agave syrup (or sugar)
2. add the oil, egg, vanilla essence, milk and salt in a bowl.
3. add the flour and baking powder and mix
4 gently fold in the raspberries and walnuts
5. put into cupcake cases or muffin cases and bake in oven at 180 degrees Celsius for about 20 mins.
6. cupcakes can be frozen for about a month in air-tight bags.

17 July 2010

Chocolate and Raspberry Cupcakes, and a dash of Courvoisier

If you want something unbelievably gorgeous, try this quick and easy recipe!

I used Courvoisier, but any brandy, rum or other liqueur will work.
You could add Cointreau for an orange-chocolate combination, or Tia Maria for the chocolate-coffee combination.


Ingredients: chocolate gnash
200 grams of dark chocolate (I use Asda dark chocolate 85p)
375 mls of double cream
4-6 shots of your favourite alcohol.
2 punnets of fresh raspberries

Ingredients: chocolate cupcakes
1 packet of Betty Crocker Devils Food Cake Mix
2 or 3 eggs

some oil
some water

Directions:
1. Make the cupcakes according to directions on packet. Let cool down.
1. Put a little water in a saucepan and then place a glass bowl on top.
2. Put the cream in the bowl and add the chocolate broken into small pieces.
3. Gently whisk until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is dark, thick and glossy. Then stir in the liqueur and take off the heat.
4. Let it cool a little and then put in fridge to cool right down and go thick. Give it a stir every little while so it cools evenly.
5. When it is thick like cream and keeps its shape you can put it on the cupcakes. If you put it on to early it will run off.
6. Top with fresh raspberries and eat straight away!! They don't keep presentation overnight as the raspberries let their juices out and it goes all mushy, but still tastes great. 


Tips:
  • Kids and breast-feeding friendly: Leave alcohol out! Mix a shot of alcohol into each individual portions instead for the drinkers.
  • The  more alcohol you add, the longer you need to leave it in the fridge.

Absolutely delicious. Even better for those of us who are strapped for time or finding ourselves having to cook with one hand (while holding bub in the other). I am sure you can do everything with one arm! You will definitely impress with this recipe!



27 June 2010

sticky date... egg and dairy free!

Sticky date is an Aussie favourite, and a JAMOSIE favourite in our home. These are egg and dairy free, and sugar reduced. They can be sugar-free as dates are naturally high in sugars and make the cupcakes sweet enough. You can make them gluten free as well by using a gluten-free self-raising flour.
Sticky-date cupcakes (makes 12)
1 cup of water
200 gm seedless dates
1 tsp bi-carbonate soda
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup brown sugar (leave out for sugar free)
1  1/4 cup self-raising flour (change for gluten free or whole meal to make more healthy)
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs vanilla essence


Directions
1. Heat water in sauce pan and add dates. Once boiling take off cooker and let sit. Dates will become very soft and mushy.
2. Add bi-carb soda to dates. It will go frothy and bubbly, just mix in and it will thicken.
3. In separate bowl, add all other ingredients except flour. mix together. Oil won't mix in and will sit on top. Don't worry. This is normal.
4. Add dates to mixture and mix in.
5. Add flour and mix together. Should become nice and thick and glossy. When you pull your spoon out the mixture should stay on the spoon, not run off.
6. 3/4 fill cupcake cases and bake in oven 180 degrees Celsius for 12-15 mins. Check middle with skewer or fork.



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