I Tried My Hand At Iced Cookies!!

So what have I learnt from my experimentation with iced cookies?

That I need a LOT of practice!

😀

Apart from that, here are a few tips from a novice.
1. Once you find the right recipe- one that bakes nice and flat- bake your cookies the day before you want to ice them and several days before you want to serve them. The icing takes up to 24 hours to dry.
2. Do not underestimate the value of YouTube tutorials!
3. Decide on a couple of designs you want to try on your cookies. Trying to think of a design when you have your icing mixed and ready does not work.
4. Once your cookies are cooled and ready to ice, your mise en place is essential!!! Its a French phrase which means “putting in place”, as in set up.
5. Have three times as many piping bags as you think you’ll need. If you’ve never folded a paper piping cone, plastic disposable bags work really well and if you snip off the tip carefully you don’t need nozzles.
6. Mix your royal icing. I found that for me a 20 second icing was perfect for lines and a 14 second icing for flooding. What this means is that once you’ve finished mixing, count how long the icing takes to smooth out again. You want it a little runny for flooding, but for piping and lines it has to hold its shape.
7. If you’re not trying the wet-on-wet technique to start with, wait for the icing to dry!

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Check out my price lists here:
Cupcakes ~ Cakes and Cookies ~ 
Sugar Art ~

Watching TV Baking Shows

I’m sure everyone watches baking or cooking shows on TV, there are so many of them nowadays – I know I have a couple of favourites – and I was wondering which ones you watch, and why?

My favourite FAVOURITE show – which isn’t currently on air – is Bake With Anna Olson, on the Home Channel. My husband stumbled across it and recorded it on PVR for me so I only caught the last four episodes – but its a fantastic show! Its step by step recipes with tips and explanations as she bakes, and variations of the recipe. Its useful and informative and I just LOVE the kitchen the show is filmed in… That would totally be my dream kitchen!
I also enjoy Masterchef Australia, especially the Masterclass episodes.
NB – if you watch the show and enjoy the suspense I don’t suggest you click on the link – South Africa is a season behind and I’d hate to spoil it for anyone!

I used to enjoy Cake Boss– when it first started- because sometimes he’d give tips on how he did certain things… But now its all about the interaction between him and his family and his interactions with his customers and I don’t learn anything from the show.
As much as I admire their work, the same goes for Charly’s Cake Angels, Planet Cake and Choccywoccydoodah.

What are your favourite shows?

Baking A Cake So Its Flat On Top

I have found several tutorials on how to do exactly this – how to bake a cake so it doesn’t rise into a dome in the middle, and how to cool it flat when it comes out of the oven.

Whilst I know some of my recipes won’t bake into a dome, my sponge cake recipes are fabulously light and soft.

And to be entirely honest with you, I LOVE it when a sponge cake rises into a perfect, smooth dome in my oven.
It tells me I mixed my ingredients just right, that my oven is at the right temperature, and that when I test it lightly with my finger it will spring back up into its beautiful shape when its done.
The thrill of delight and the sense of achievement I feel when a cake comes out of my oven perfectly is hard to match.

And when it comes time to decorate that cake, I simply slice the dome off the top using my special cake slicer and I put it aside.
When my husband and son come home from work and see me decorating a cake, or smell that I have been baking, the first thing they look for is the lunchbox full of off-cuts in the fridge!
It makes them happy and it makes me smile.

Cake is never wasted in my house!

~~tips and tricks~~

I Went To The @MommyMatters #LibertyMompreneurs Networking Breakfast!

In September, the first  Mommy Matters “Mompreneurs Networking Breakfast” was held in Johannesburg, but I couldn’t make it and I was determined to get to the next one. When I got an email from Liberty inviting me to attend the October event with them (they’re now sponsoring the breakfasts) I replied with an instant “YES!!!”

It was a fabulous morning indeed and I got to meet some great mompreneurs!

The way the breakfast works is that you introduce yourself and your business to the women in attendance, so if you are planning to go to one make sure you have a one minute introduction prepared. You can also take a sample of your product or service as a lucky-draw prize, which happens after the presentation by means of pulling business cards out of a “hat”!

😀

After the intros the breakfast is served- we were at Grand Central Cafe at Melrose Arch- and whilst you’re eating you can network with the other women in attendance, so they suggest you make notes about who you would like to speak to on the list of attendees you are given. Its a really fantastic opportunity to meet and connect with fellow mompreneurs and create an impression face-to-face. It gets you far further in building a business relationship than an email or a phone call would.

After breakfast, there’s a presentation by a mompreneur who shares her story and her journey, and we were lucky to be able to hear Lauren de Swardt speak. Lauren started Kids Emporium at the age of 21, added Maddy Magoo to her list of businesses, and she now has a consulting agency as well. Kids Emporium has grown to 16 franchise branches in ten years and exceeded her own goals, let alone the nay-sayers she had to listen to when she pitched her idea. Lauren’s talk was about balancing work and family, making time for yourself, your partner and your children. She was great to listen to and gave us quite a few things to think about and remember. As women we already take on more because we feel like we have to prove a point, and we end up taking on too much and not coping. She said you don’t need to be afraid to drop a ball occasionally- they can usually be picked up again. You have to MAKE time for yourself, for your partner and for your children. Its usually to make our lives better than we become mompreneurs, and our lives with them shouldn’t suffer once we take the plunge to be self employed. We also need to learn to ask for help, learn to plan ahead, and be proud of our achievements!

It was certainly food for thought and I think the next breakfast should definitely be on my to-do list.

Follow @MommyMatters on Twitter and find them on Facebook!

Happy Birthday Julia Child!!

Today would have been Julia Child’s one hundredth birthday!

I think she was phenomenal!

I love her attitude!

I love her approach to cooking!

I love her approach to life!

For a little glimpse into just why I think she’s so awesome, here are some of my favourite Julia quotes:

“The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.”

“If you’re afraid of butter, use cream.” 

“This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!” 

“The best way to execute French cooking is to get good and loaded and whack the hell out of a chicken. Bon appétit. ”

“I think every woman should have a blowtorch.”