Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Book club cake of the month...January

Surely it's a miracle?  I am actually posting an event only one day after it occurred,  this may be unprecedented in the history of Amelie's House. Take full advantage of it because surely it will not happen again this year!
Anyway, this month we read 'I Capture The Castle' by Dodie Smith, who is also the author of 101 Dalmations. I have never read this book before, although quite a few of the group had read it in their youth.
The novel is in the form of a diary, written by Cassandra, about her transition from child to adult. She attempts to 'capture' on her paper the characters in her life. Her father is an eccentric writer who has only ever managed to write one book and can't seem to find another one in him. His family have long since used up the earnings from his book and are now penniless. Cassandra has an older sister who is very beautiful and determined to get herself out of poverty by marrying the first rich man she can lay her hands on. Fortunately for her, one comes along just at the right time.
We all really, really enjoyed this book, it had the right mixture of naivety and charm one would expect of a girl the age of Cassandra, but also a lot of humor and some almost risque moments. The girl's step mother who is only twenty-nine herself is somewhat bohemian, and loves to commune with nature, so she romps around the countryside naked, in the night.
I would recommend it to any one who is looking for a cracking good read. We gave it an average of  nine.

There are quite a lot of different foods mentioned in the book. I nearly made oat biscuits, as the family seem to live of these, and ham. There is also a lovely chapter describing a midsummer ritual involving a special cake. But in the end I plumped for 'squashed fly' biscuits (Garibaldis). They were so simple to make and tasted delicious, I used this recipe, but I doubled it. I had left  a bowl with five in for Mr LD, they were all gone by the time I got home.


Previous book club cakes of the month;
December 2012
November 2012

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Cakes that time forgot

After Christmas, and illness, and then catching up on all the work that got put aside during that time, I am now trying to clear my camera. In doing so I have found some pictures that I haven't shared with you yet. So I have two random cakes that may take your fancy.

The first one was a toile de jouy cake. It was for a friend's sister's 40th birthday. She likes shabby chic and I'd wanted to do a one of these cakes for ages, so I persuaded my friend to go for it. 
When I was a textile designer I created a design which was a traditional toile de jouy with teddy bears and rabbits instead of people, I loved it. I would really love to do a wedding cake like this (not with the teddies though). 

I painted the characters to represent the birthday girl and her family.

This cake is a dummy I made last year for a photo shoot with Mr & Mrs Unique, an amazing website where you can find truly unique wedding suppliers, (I'm modestly including myself in that group!).
The shoot was at Anyhoe Park in Oxfordshire, an amazing venue, and the brief was fairly open, so this is what I came up with. You can see pictures from the shoot in Unique Bride magasine out now. I am hoping to be able to share some on here soon.

Come back soon for more cakey goodness.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Help in a time of need


If you have been a follower of my blog for a few years you may remember this post about the children's book, 'Mrs Mouse's Cupcakes', or this one about the launch party for the book.
The book was written by Gretel Parker a fabulous illustrator and artist who I met over twenty years ago when we were both students on a Graphic Design course in Newcastle. At the same time Gretel met her partner Andy and they had been together ever since. 
Gretel's parents had both died when she was a child and so Andy has been her only family. Just before Christmas they had managed after years of saving to buy their first house together.
However, last week very suddenly and tragically Andy died. He didn't have a will so it will be many months until Gretel's financially situation is stable. She is a freelance artist so you can imagine her income for the next few months, while she grieves, will be very small.

Artwork by Gretel Parker

A wonderful friend of Gretel's has set up The Gretel Parker Project  to raise some money to help her over this tough time. If you could donate a small amount to help a fellow artist I would be so grateful and, even if you are not in the position to be able to donate can you please spread the link to the giving site via any social networks.

Felt cupcake by Gretel Parker


Monday, 21 January 2013

Painting onto fondant tutorial

Yes, my online tutorial teaching you all you need to know about painting on fondant is about to go live!

But first up, a big apology for being MIA. Christmas was spent nursing my family back to health through their various ailments, culminating in a trip to the emergency care unit on New Years Day followed by the car breaking down whilst trying to get home. Then, when they were all better, (thanks to my amazing powers of healing...OK, Calpol and antibiotics) I succumbed to proper flu, really the only time I have ever had it, and it was horrible. I am feeling myself again now though, which is such a relief!
Anyway enough about me and back to the tutorial.

I hope to have the tutorial online and running within a week (ever the optimist). 
Sorry it has taken soooo long to get to this point.
 The tutorial will be available from my website and will cost £20 through Paypal, you will get an online video to watch and a pdf to download. 
I will be giving you general tips on how to paint onto fondant and you will learn how to paint ranunculus, gerbera, hydrangea and leaves, like the cake above. 
If you are interested in purchasing it you can sign up here to receive an email as soon as the tutorial is available. Again, sorry for the wait but these things always take longer than you think.