Saturday 28 July 2012

Mad Hatter Tea Party...2012

In previous years the Hatter has visited various members of the household. However Mr Lemon Drizzle remains un-hattered. Could this be his year? And if so how will he react to a wonderland of whimsy? (With his normal good humour?), we can only hope.

There was a faint drone of the children running and shouting in the garden, and the 'Mama' hiding in their bedroom, stealing a few minutes to play Bejewled on his iPod. "Ha" he thought "she will never beat my score!" So, he took a few minutes to stretch out on the couch with the weekend papers. He skimmed the guide and then opened the Review section but his eyes were closing and he couldn't keep them open, and to be honest, he didn't want to try. Soon he had assumed his customary Saturday position, and tried to catch forty winks.

But no sooner had he nodded off again than he heard a whisper in hie ear, 'Carpe diem...carpe diem'. He flicked his ear but it wouldn't stop.

"Do you mind, I am trying to get some sleep!"
"Come, it's party time!"
He opened his eyes and saw a strange man in front of him.
"Garr" he jumped!
"Come with!"
He wasn't the kind of man to take orders, and he didn't like strange men in the house and he certainly didn't like parties. So he just closed his eyes and attempted to ignore it all. But try and resist as he might, his eyes strained to open, and, when he gave in, he found himself in a strange room, filled with flowers.
"Welcome" said the Hatter, "to our florabunda party."
"Florabunda! Seriously? In case it has slipped your notice, I'm a man, I'm a manly man, I don't do flowers. I eat salt and vinegar chip sticks and drink beer!"
Quick as a flash the little man jumped forward and started tickling him. "I think we have to cheer the grumbly bear up"
"Get off me," he slapped the Hatter's hand away, " I don't need cheering up, I just want to be left sleep"
"Have some cake" was the only reply and a flower shaped cookie was thrust into his hand. 

"It's OK, but what are the bits in it?"
"In a cake, that's not right? And this?" he asked pointing to a stack of unrecognizable goodies.


"They aren't macaroons. Even I know they should be shiny and crisp on the outside with a 'foot'. These are flat, dull, and holey."

"Yes, well, our chef blames the oven, she says it is impossible to make a macaroon in it...anyway moving swiftly on, what about a meringue, with cream and raspberry?"
"The devil's fruit!"

Chocolate cake?"
"With edible flowers? I don't think so"

"Parma violets, fondant roses?"
"I'm picking up a theme!"

"I know, a cake pop"
"Don't get me's a cake...on a doesn't make it more fun. You can guarantee that after one bite it will crack and I will lose most of the cake on to the floor! It really is the most ridiculous cake-based idea, barring cake-in-a-jar, or even worse, a cake push pop. They are all just designed to make it harder to eat cake!"

The Hatter sighed, but continued to parade an seemingly endless supply of cakes, biscuits, ice cream and even jellies in front of the angry man. This was a most unusual teas party, normally his guests succumbed quickly, and willingly, to his mixture of whimsy and charm. Had he lost his touch?

On and on they went, until the Daddy could take it no more.
"Stop! Enough! I will eat something. Do you have any lemon drizzle cake?"
"Aha, yes, we have an excellent lemon drizzle cupcake."
"Well I would much prefer a good hearty slab of cake, but I suppose this will have to do."
He took a bit of the tiny tasted absolutely delicious but then his teeth crunched down on to something hard and unyielding.
"What on earth is this? How irritating! A cherry, a cherry hiding in a lemon drizzle cake with the stone left in, have you no thought for tradition or the health of my teeth?"

The Hatter snapped his fingers. "Right, that's it! You have no appreciation of  whimsy or exceedingly good cake.!
"You're absolutely right, but I never claimed to, I just wanted a lie down. I think you may possibly have the wrong man, I don't care at all for whimsy."
"Right then, only one thing for it. Help me out Dormouse."
A small mouse crept up behind the man and knocked him on the head with a teapot.
He woke with a start, still on the couch, but now a small, insistent child was jumping up and down on him.
"Daddy, daddy wake up, wake up!"
"No, leave me alone, I was having a lovely dream, about the best cake ever!"
His wife passed by the door and rolled her eyes (she had been reading a certain book!). "I hope it was one of mine" She said jealously.
"Yes dear." He replied, and closed his eyes while a small child pummeled his chest, and in the distance a funny wee man laughed and laughed.

 Thankyou to Vanessa from A Fanciful Twist for hosting the Mad Hatters Tea Party. You can see hers here.
You can also see previous years parties (with less grumpy participants) here and here. And you can make your own toasted oatmeal ice cream with this recipe.

Thankyou for visiting Amelie's House. We look forward to visiting your parties

Friday 27 July 2012

Toasted oatmeal ice cream recipe

This is a recipe I used to make as a teenager, it is from an old Marks and Spencer cookbook that I still treasure. It sounds unusual, but it is delicious, and you can fool yourself into believing that it is healthy, as it contains oats! The oats and sugar turn into praline, and give the ice cream a gorgeous nutty, toffee taste. You must really watch the oat/sugar mixture while it is under the grill, as it burns very easily! 
had intended to make use of my ice cream maker, but it had lain idle for so long in the back of a cupboard that the liquid in the freezer bowl had started to leak. So I used the old fashioned 'taking it out of the freezer regularly and beating it' method. You only need to do this three or four times, but just make sure that the ice cream is semi-frozen when you do, or it won't be effective. 
Big kidlet decided to make some chocolate cookies today and I thought they would be perfect to use in an ice cream sandwich...and they were!

You can download a printable recipe here.


Thursday 26 July 2012

Princess castle cake

This was a remake of one of my very first designs, but the client wanted a five layer rainbow cake inside, hence the height. The little girl was turning 4 so we added the door number as a small nod to her age.


Tuesday 24 July 2012

Underwater party invitations

Although this party isn't happening until September, we had to get the invitations out before the Summer holidays to guarantee any guests. 
An underwater theme was this year's request, so expect mermaids, seaweed and dolphins. (I am trying to persuade the littlest kidlet to let me make a cake that isn't full of Octonauts figures, but it's a losing battle!)
 I have been wanting to make something with these little plastic fish for ages now. I got mine from a Japanese supermarket in London but I'm sure you could find them on the internet somewhere, because you can find everything there...I love it!

You can find the instructions below.

 (I ended up reprinting the actual invitation part and spacing it over three lines to make the scroll smaller.)

Big kidlet insisted on decorating each envelope which took a week!
More on the party in September.

Monday 16 July 2012

June's painting classes

I had two classes last week. A basic large cake class and a cupcake class, and I seemed to have managed to post pictures from both of them in less than a week. Don't faint in shock though, just read on....

The first class was a very international affair with lovely ladies from Turkey, Slovakia and Macedonia, as well as a great bunch from the UK. I was really touched to receive a lovely Turkish cloth as a present.

The class starts by painting on to fondant discs. Most people are beginners and feel very nervous, so I like to ease them in gently before I unveil the big cakes!
The students always enjoy the opportunity to chat to other cake makers about working in this business and comparing other courses they have been on.

Everyone was really pleased with their finished cake, as you can see here, by the beams on their faces.

The cupcake course was held in the town's Friend's Meeting house, which is a beautiful old building. The other picture is the table where I do my demonstrations, as you can see I am not a tidy worker.

This was a smaller class so it was nice for everyone to be able to sit at the same table. But you can see the concentration on their faces!

I hope I managed to get a picture of at least one cake from everybody, apologies if I missed you out.

Unfortunately I am not sure when my next classes will be, as I am waiting to hear about some projects that may happen for the second half of the year. You can subscribe here to my mailing list to be the first to know when the dates are announced. However, I am hoping to have an online tutorial for people to purchase soon. I am trying to gauge interest in this on my Facebook page. So if it's something you would consider buying please pop over and add your 'like' to the post

Tuesday 10 July 2012

Fresh from the oven

Flapjack (recipe here) ready for this week's classes.

Monday 9 July 2012

Book club cake of the month...July

This month, I was the host and gave the members of the book group their three choices. 'American Gods' by Neil Gaiman (I have read this already and think it's brilliant!), Evelyn Waugh's 'The Loved One' and, the one they all plumped for, 'The Snow Child', a first novel by Eowyn Ivey.
This is a really beautiful novel, the author captures the wilderness and stillness of Alska perfectly. And portrays the ache in the hearts of the main protagonists, Jack and Mabel for a child of their own with a tenderness and emotional depth.
One day an ethereal child arrives, seemingly out of nowhere, reminding Mabel of her favourite fairy tale 'The Snow Child', about a girl made of snow who magically comes to life.

              Watch the video below tho get an impression of the feel and mood of the book.

Fortunately, after The Finkler Disaster (see here), everyone really enjoyed this book, we had a good discussion and opinion varied about Faina (the child) from realistic explanations to the magical. There were a few problems about the book that were raised, but they were minor and didn't detract from the rest of the novel, but I would urge you to read it yourself and make your own mind up. 
We gave it an average of 8 1/2 with a few 9s thrown in for good measure.

Mabel bakes pies to earn extra money, and one of the pies she makes is a dried apple pie. I decided to come up with my own version. I bought some ready made puff pastry (because really who has time to make their own?) I stewed two cooking apples with plenty of brown sugar then place them on top of the rolled out pastry. I then arranged dried apple slices on top of the puree and brushed them with some maple syrup. (Now I must admit that the dried apples burnt to a crisp, so once the pie had baked I took off the first lot, added the bits left in the bag and placed it under the grill to brown a little.) No-one knew though and it went down a treat.
The host also provides nibbles, so I thought you may like to see the savouries I provided (no-one ever has tea before book club).

We are having an informal meeting over the summer in a pub somewhere and reading a book I can't mention, as my Mum will be reading this! (But it involves vampires.)
Previous book club cake of the month;