Tag Archives: party

black tie elegance

My mind is all a-flutter with visions of long dresses, sparkling jewels and glamorous high heels. I was lucky enough to be able to attend a black tie awards ceremony last night and ever since I left the event I have been dreaming of feeling that elegant and glamorous all the time.

Alas, there are no longer many opportunities to dress up and enjoy the style of old world glamour, so I decided to take the modern approach and indulge with some online window shopping instead…

All clothes are available from the gorgeous party boutique at net-a-porter

rocky road cupcakes

I love making food for friends and family, so when I read that the recipe for these cupcakes only made 12, I knew I would have to double it! My sisters and I always use our trusted cupcake recipe but I thought it was time to step up and try something new – these marble cupcakes with rocky road topping looked like they might actually be worthy competition to our favourites.

I was excited to find that everybody that tried them loved them. The cupcakes are moist and colourful and the rocky road topping is so deliciously rich (you really can only eat one of these at a time).  Have fun baking them!

I’ve split the following recipe into two components – the marbled cupcake and the rocky road top.

Recipe adapted from Classic Cupcakes by the Australian Women’s Weekly. Makes about 24 cupcakes.

Marble Cupcake

Ingredients:

  •  250g butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1+ 1/3 C caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2+ 1/2 C self raising flour
  • 2/3 C milk
  • pink food colouring
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 4 tsp milk, extra

  1. Preheat oven to 160 C (fan forced) and line muffin tins with paper cases.
  2. Beat butter, extract, sugar and eggs with an electric or stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the sifted flour and milk to the mixture in three batches, stirring between additions.
  3. Split the mixture into three bowls. Add the cocoa and extra milk to the first bowl and stir to combine. Add a couple of drops of pink food colouring to the second bowl and stir to combine. Leave the third bowl as is.
  4. Add one spoon of each coloured mix to each cupcake case. Use a skewer to swirl the batter slightly to create the marbled effect.
  5. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
  6. Allow to cool before decorating with rocky road topping.

Rocky Road Topping

Ingredients:

  • 250g pink and white marshmallows, chopped
  • 300g red glace cherries, halved
  • 1 C unsalted peanuts
  • 1 C flaked coconut
  • 400g melted milk chocolate
  • 50g extra melted milk chocolate to drizzle over the top

  1. Mix all ingredients (except a couple of the marshmallows) together in a bowl.
  2. Use a spoon to add the mixture to the top of the cooled cupcakes.
  3. Add extra marshmallows to the top of the cupcakes and drizzle the extra milk chocolate over the top to hold it all together. Enjoy! 

bompas & parr (pimms cup with a twist)

Jelly by Sam Bompas and Harry Parr is one of the most recent additions to my cookbook collection. It is a book filled with wondrous creations from Bompas & Parr, who decided to start working as “jellymongers” in 2007. Bompas & Parr’s creations range from fairly standard to sublime, however they are all impressive. Standard creations are jazzed up – fresh fruit jellies in the shape of architectural wonders – while the most magnificent include glow in the dark creations, layered wonders or a suspension of gold leaf.

These guys aren’t just limited to jelly though – they have other culinary skills perfectly suited to the sweet tooth. The gents have been inspired by Willy Wonka’s creations, creating chewing gum that changes flavour as you chew (blueberry pie anybody?) and scratch and sniff cards that are reminiscent of Wonka’s wallpaper. Although the recipes for these creations are not included in the gelatine based cookbook, there are so many photos and stories inside that you really get an idea of how creative and magical these guys are, making you think that jelly is simply the first food product of many that they have decided to master and reinvent.

I decided to try my first recipe from their book last weekend – it was a warm spring day so I decided to make the Pimms Cup jelly in lieu of an actual jug of Pimms. I have to admit that I have only ever made jelly from a packet of jelly crystals before so I was slightly terrified at the thought of making an alcohol based jelly with suspended pieces of fruit that I needed to unmould. However, I was so excited with my success that I have now decided to attempt many more beautiful creations from this book. I think I will try the alcohol based jellies first and work my way from Mai Tai to Bubblegum Vodka to Champagne and Summer Fruit. Delicious!

Recipe adapted from Jelly by Bompas & Parr, makes one litre of jelly for use in a jelly mould. If you choose to set your mix in glasses and do not wish to unmould them, you will only need 7 gelatine leaves.

Ingredients:

  •  300 mL Pimms
  • 350 mL ginger ale
  • 350 mL lemonade
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 small cucumber, sliced
  • 1 punnet strawberries, sliced (you probably won’t need them all, leaving you something to snack on)
  • 10 gelatine leaves (gold strength)

Pour the Pimms Cup, dry ginger ale and lemonade into a jug, add a squeeze of lemon juice, and stir. Resist drinking it!!

Chop up the gelatine leaves and place in a heat proof bowl. Pour just enough of the Pimms mixture over the top so that the gelatine is covered. Allow to bloom for 10 minutes. Place the heat proof bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water to allow the mix to heat up. Stir until the gelatine has melted into the mixture. Add the remaining Pimms Cup liquid, stir, and then strain the mixture back into the jug.

Put your jelly mould (or glasses) on a tray to make it easy to transfer to the fridge to set. Pour some of the Pimms jelly mixture into the mould and add some of the cucumber and strawberries. Place the partially filled mould into the fridge for about an hour to allow it to partially set. Keep the remaining liquid and fruit at room temperature.

Repeat the mould filling and layering procedure until all of the mixture is in the mould, in the fridge. Leave for approximately two hours to ensure firm (or at least, as firm as a bowl full of jelly can be).

To remove jelly from mould, place quickly in a bowl of very warm water. The jelly will loosen from the edges of the mould, allowing you to easily flip it onto a plate and serve! You may wish to pour a little extra Pimms Cup around the edge before serving if your guests really love the taste…

Non “Pimms Cup” images are from the Bompas & Parr website

melbourne cup day and a lemon & passionfruit cake

Melbourne Cup Day today, woohoo! For anybody who doesn’t know what I’m talking about, Melbourne Cup Day is the main race day of the Spring Racing Carnival. Horses come from all over the world as there is big money to win, and people get dressed in suits, cocktail dresses and hats to celebrate ( and to lose a lot of money on bets). Each day of the racing carnival is slightly different but I love Cup Day as it is a public holiday so it is a great chance to catch up with friends and have a bit of a party.

I think the bottles of champagne below would be perfect for a day like today – so many gorgeous colours and patterns. Alas, it would look a little strange if I brought one bottle of champagne decorated as such to my friend’s place today but perhaps I can do it the next time I have an afternoon to play with washi tape before a party at home.

washi tape champagne

Today gentlemen at the track will be wearing yellow roses on their lapels so I decided to make a lemon cake with passionfruit icing to celebrate and add a touch of yellow to the event I am attending. Hopefully it tastes good as I decided to take a risk and bring a cake I have never made before. Hope you all have a lovely day! 

Champagne Image Credit: Merci Tape @ Scout-Holiday