Afternoon Tea at Michelle’s

I had afternoon tea and a Stampin’ Up party today and it was a great deal of fun! I thought it would be a great opportunity to make a cake and a pie! So I wanted to share what I prepared for some of my friends and family today :-)

First of all I thought I would make peppermint slice. I haven’t had it since primary school days. Do you remember when once or twice a year they would do a fundraising drive selling caramel slice, hedgehog slice and of course peppermint slice – my favourite!!? Every now and then I think of peppermint slice, I even remember around 5 years ago I was having someone over for a morning or afternoon tea and I wanted some peppermint slice. I remember bumping into an Aunty at the shops and she asked what I was doing, and after I told her she said “Why don’t you just make it?”.

Well, after making all the goodies yesterday and this morning, I know why I didn’t make my own peppermint slice; I just didn’t have the time! I spent over 10 hours cooking, loading/emptying dishwasher and decorating a cake. And I had to cook 2 cakes (tell you more later), but when I was working I just wouldn’t have been able to do any of the cooking at all. So today Aunty, you had some of my cooking!!! I bet you don’t remember mentioning that to me years ago! :-)

The blue ‘white chocolate’ is my little touch, the recipe said to colour it green – but I love blue! And I just had my first slice to test it for my blog and YUM!!! I’m glad I have a fair bit left (sent off ‘doggie bags’ of the leftover cake below), I am definitely going to munch on a square every day for the next week or so :)

Michelle's Labyrinth Peppermint Slice_0

Next I wanted to make a pie, but I thought with the number of people I was having over, it would be easier making individual pies. I love Google – I decided on cherry pies, so I just Googled ‘cherry pie muffin size’ and all these recipes came up. I chose a very simple recipe (almost too simple) and the ingredients were store bought pastry and canned cherry pie filling. From what I know canned pie filling is more an American thing and I didn’t trust being able to buy it if I looked for it yesterday, so I decided to use my Cherry Cobbler recipe (http://michelleslabyrinth.tumblr.com/post/43494942351/cherry-cobbler-recipe) to make the filling. They turned out very nice! Especially with a dollop of cream :-)

Michelle's LabyrinthMichelle's Labyrinth

I also wanted to make some savouryMichelle's Labyrinth goodies. I considered making my own sausage rolls, but thankfully I didn’t set the bar too high for myself and just bought party sausage rolls. But I did want to make something, and I thought of how you can buy mini quiches and they always seem to go down well. So I made my own mini quiches. Everyone seemed to like them; I only had one leftover!

And of course I wanted to make aMichelle's Labyrinth cake. After some encouragement from Coxie’s Cakes on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/Coxies.cakes) I bought a cake pop mould during the week (bumped into the same Aunty at the shop when I was buying the cake pop mould!). I followed a tutorial from another cake expert on Facebook to make a spotty cake (http://www.facebook.com/rosieoriginals/photos_stream#!/media/set/?set=a.407901802618343.96142.366448136763710&type=3) and was also inspired by Coxie’s Cakes to make a ladybug! (Check out this one http://www.facebook.com/Coxies.cakes#!/photo.php?fbid=549884155056500&set=pb.305399936171591.-2207520000.1365949457&type=3&theater ).

My first freak yesterday was when I was tookMichelle's Labyrinth the cake pops out of the oven the first time. I wasn’t sure how to tell if they were cooked through… so I lifted the lid gently on one side and there were cake balls!! I was excited! I then lifted the lid all the way off and the middle size balls were all mush! So I thought the best thing to do was to close the lid and shove it all back in the oven and see what happens in 5 more minutes! I was fairly happy with the outcome :)

Michelle's LabyrinthSo I layered the cake balls per the tutorial and just hoped all would turn out okay! I was trying a Madeira cake recipe, because it is a more dense cake and apparently the balls are less likely to rise or sink. However, for my second freak of the day I had my first CAKE FAIL! I tested the cake with a skewer, and after the fourth test the skewer came out clean. I cooled the cake in the tin for a while, and then took it out of the tin and got an awful surprise! It collapsed! All I can think is that I entereMichelle's Labyrinthd the skewer in a cake ball… I still had plenty of cake balls left, so I made another cake – this time using my trusted Vanilla Cake recipe!

I doubled my Vanilla Cake recipeMichelle's Labyrinth because I wanted to make sure I had enough to cover the cake balls, but the mixture ended up being way too much for the cake tin I used and rose above the top of the cake tin and almost overflowed the edge. It took a lot longer for actual cake to cook (I used a knife to check it and not a skewer!!!) so the top and edges were very brown. So I trimmed them! I wanted a ladybug shape anyway. I was a little bummed that a black ball was showing on the side of the cake, but there was nothing I could do at the last stage. So I covered it with icing and the ladybug looked pretty cute!!

Michelle's Labyrinth

And the dots looked pretty cute to me :-)

Michelle's Labyrinth Michelle's Labyrinth

So I really enjoyed my afternoon tea and I hope my family and friends that came did too! And the bonus of afternoon tea was that we made a very pretty card! And my puppies Hamlet and Macbeth were very well behaved and they also slept very well afterwards!

Michelle's Labyrinth Michelle's Labyrinth

 

 

California Food Odyssey

Today hubbie and I had yummy naughty American food! Most of this trip we have been having two meals a day – lunch and dinner. We just haven’t been getting up early enough, or had to rush to get to where we were going, like Legoland or Seasworld! But today I set my alarm so we could have breakfast!

Hubbie has been in Berkeley for 6 weeks now, setting up an administration office for his business. So he had scoped out lots of good eating places. About a month ago he sent through a picture of his breakfast – bacon and pancakes! That is one American Food Oddity (e.g. peanut butter and jelly or potato crisps with every lunch order (even cafes)) that we like! So off we went to ‘La Note’ in Berkeley – and we even had to wait 15 minutes for a table!

I had scrambled eggs, crispy bacon and crème fraîche pancakes! Hubbie had the same but with raspberry pancakes. They were amazing!

Michelle's Labyrinth Michelle's Labyrinth

As you know I am a little obsessed with pie! So I googled the best pie places in San Francisco and dragged hubbie along for lunch. The pie place was not exactly close to our hotel, so after a downhill walk, a trolley ride and the a horrendous uphill walk we made it to ‘Mission Pie’. I’d already scanned the menu and knew I was going to order Banana Cream Pie if it was available. Hubbie had Chicken Pot Pie… All I can say is YUM!!!

Michelle's Labyrinth

Michelle's Labyrinth

Michelle's LabyrinthThen tonight we went to the baseball! Our first game – San Francisco Giants vs Oakland Athletics. We had awesome seats and the Giants won! YAY! I was going to get a hot dog, but when it came to order I decided to brave a Spicy Chili Dog – OMG it was amazing! The sausage was to die for, the chili [American English] was okay, not as good as my chilli [British English] con carne, but still good. But it was terribly messy! I thoroughly enjoyed it!

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Michelle's LabyrinthTrying to control the mess –>

 

 

 

 

 

Hubbie got a AnguMichelle's Labyrinths Beef Burger, which was okay… Messy too from the look of his shorts – that yellow mustard went everywhere!!  :-)

 

So that was our naughty food day – thankfully San Francisco is hilly to help burn it off! More pie tomorrow I think :)

 

 

Easy As Pie

I think you’ll all be impressed with the pie challenge progress I have made. I think I have actually made more than one a week though, so I have stopped making them – I could feel myself putting weight on, which is definitely not a good thing. It is bad enough when it sneakily appears… but when you feel it…

The next pie I made was for my hubbieMichelle's Labyrinth on Valentine’s Day. I asked him what sort of pie he would like and the response was “I like Lamingtons”… Helpful… I could have bopped him, but instead I just accepted it and said I would see what I can do. Over the next couple of days I let my mind absorb the request and figured I could make a vanilla cheesecake and add Lamingtons to it. So that is exactly what I did. Michelle's Labyrinth

I created my own Lamington Cheesecake Pie! I made a biscuit case and covered it with Lamingtons (mainly the chocolate and coconut; my puppies and I ate the sponge). Then I mixed some Lamington chocolate part into the cheese mixture. Then covered the Lamington base and let it set. Easy!

I thought the Lamington Cheesecake Pie turned out pretty good. Hubbie departed to the U.S.A. a day later, so I took the rest of the pie to a card party and they really seemed to enjoy it.Michelle's Labyrinth

One of my lovely friends who reads this blog asked for “Pie, Me oh My!” So we set a lunch date… which her Dad ruined! I had my heart set on making her Peach Cobbler, and since I was in the zone of making it, I did so even though our lunch date was cancelled! I took it to Wednesday cards instead and it went down very well.

I had Peach Cobbler inMichelle's Labyrinth Atlanta last year and I wasn’t all that impressed. Peaches are the official state fruit of Georgia (where Atlanta resides), so I was expecting big things. One thing I remember was that the peaches seemed to be canned peaches…  When I think of peaches I always start singing Peaches by The Presidents of the United States of America…

“Peaches come in a can, they were put there byMichelle's Labyrinth a man, in a factory down town. If I had my way, I would eat peaches every day….
Moving to the country, going to eat a lot of peaches!
Moving to the country, going to eat a lot of peaches!”

I used the recipe for Peach Cobbler from my Pushing Daisies booklet. The recipe used canned peaches! Maybe that is how they do come! :) And I must say that my Peach Cobbler tasted better than the one I had in Atlanta! In the picture above with the pie in the oven you can see the edge of a blue dish. I made a mini Peach Cobbler for hubbie and myself. It was probably 11pm when it came out of the oven and hubbie said he would have a taste, since it was too late to eat. Next thing we know we have devoured the mini-pie and are considering tucking into the pie that was for the card party – if I hadn’t told the lady that runs cards I was bringing Peach Cobbler, I think we could have damaged it – it was mouthwatering right out of the oven!Michelle's Labyrinth

The next pie I made was a Michelle's LabyrinthBlackberry and Custard pie. I had blackberries in the cupboard, so googled blackberry pies. I was also curious how the custard would turn out, as I thought you made custard with powder – shows you how often I have made custard! Custard was made of was eggs, sour cream, flour and  sugar – easy! Hence why I chose this pie.

Michelle's Labyrinth

 

 

 

 

 

I served the pie right out of the ovenMichelle's Labyrinth for my friend (the one that missed the Peach Cobbler) and it was pretty yummy! But I had it cold after dinner that night and YUM-MO!!! The best cold pie I have ever had :) So I don’t think anyone else got to taste that pie – I kept the rest all for myself! Hope my friend was happy with her “Pie, Me oh My!

Michelle's Labyrinth

I googled the quote “easy as pie”, just to make sure I had the expression right, and Wikipedia said that the “idiom does not refer to the making of a pie, but rather to the act of consuming a pie (“as easy as eating a pie”)”, but from my experience so far, making pie is easy! They never take too long to prepare (as long as you have the ingredients, but surely that goes without saying), and then you pop them in the oven and they are done. You don’t even have to make your own pastry if you are strapped for time, just buy some frozen short-crust pastry and that will do the trick. I think we need to make/eat more pie and stop making life so difficult!

I am sure my hubbie will be happy to hear I said making pie was easy! Check out my tumblr page for the recipes of the pies above! http://michelleslabyrinth.tumblr.com/

Stay tuned for another blog on the rest of my pies!

 

 

 

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