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Ginger Gems July 9, 2010

Posted by Sarah in baking, butter, cosy, dining in, food, Gem Irons, Ginger Gems, home made, recipe, Thrifting.
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Wont you come in from the cold?  Can I tempt you with a just-baked Ginger Gem?

Actually, we baked these last night.  They were lovely with tea after dinner, and even better for breakfast this morning.

This old Gem Iron belonged to my Grandmother.  I packed it with other essential belongings and it moved countries with me.  I am so very fond of it.

I haven’t seen a new Gem Iron for sale in a store ever.  I wonder if they’ve stopped making them?  I wonder if The Delta Metal Co Ltd, of Christchurch, New Zealand are still in business?

The circular Gem Iron is a recent acquisition.  I found it at the Surry Hills Markets last Saturday.  $5 and it came home with me.

Pre-loved.  Worn from countless morning tea’s over the years.  Sturdy and dependable.  I like imagining the old lady who owned this before me.  I wonder if she used the same recipe that I do?

Two recipe for Ginger Gems

Taken from the Edmonds Cookery Book, 1980.  Written in the matter-of-fact way that Edmonds recipes are synonymous with.  At least in my mind.

Ginger Gems

1 cup of Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/8 teaspoon Salt
1 Egg
1/2 Cup Milk
25g (1oz) Butter
25g (1oz) Brown Sugar
2 tablespoons Golden Syrup
Sift dry ingredients.  Beat egg and add with milk.  Melt butter, sugar and golden syrup together and mix in last of all.  Put in twelve hot greased gem irons and bake 12 minutes at 215 C.

Taken from At Home At Play, by Pennie Oliver

Ginger Gems

60g Butter
150g Caster Sugar
1 Egg
1 tablespoon Golden Syrup
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
175ml Milk
250g Plain Flour
2 teaspoons Ground Ginger (we doubled this)
extra Butter for gem irons and for serving.

Preaheat the oven to 230C.  Place the gem irons in the oven to heat.  Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl  Beat in the egg.  Stir in the golden syrup.  Mis the baking soda into the milk.  Add the dry ingredients and milk and baking soda to the bowl.  Mix to combine the ingredients.  Remove the gem irons from the oven.  Drop about 1/4 teaspoon butter into the bottom of each of the hollows.  Spoon the mixture into each hollow to two-thirds full.  Bake for 10 minutes, until the gems are cooked and golden.  Serve plain or with butter.
Makes 20 – 22

The Caterer July 1, 2010

Posted by Sarah in baking, bread, business, butter, cake, catering, chocolate, custom order, food, fruit, green, home made, homemade jam, jam.
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I had a catering job yesterday.  12 people for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea.  Of course, although I took my camera with me, I managed to forget to take photos of most of the food I provided.  Here’s what I did manage to capture:

The olive oil dough resting before being cut into Panini buns.

The cooked Panini buns.

You’ll just have to imagine them filled with Free Range Roast Pork, my home made Harissa, crisp Lettuce and fresh Tomato.  Or Free Range Roast Chicken, Avocado, home made Basil Aioli and crisp Lettuce.  Or Rare Roast Beef, Horseradish Cream and Rocket.

This fruit platter looked so pretty I had to take a photograph of it, even though it was all secured in plastic wrap.  This platter accompanied a platter of freshly baked scones, home made jams and whipped cream.  A very lavish start to the day.

Double chocolate and toasted walnut brownie.

A close up of the decadent brownie.

The afternoon fruit platter to accompany said decadent chocolate brownie.

If you’re in Sydney, and are interested in having me cater your next function send me a message or comment on this post.

Baking up a storm June 29, 2010

Posted by Sarah in baking, business, butter, cookies, custom order, food, home made, kings cross, oats.
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Some shots of the baking I’ve been doing this week to prepare for tomorrow’s Catering job:

Spiced Orange and Cardamon Cookies

Chocolate and Oat Cookies

Double chocolate brownies

Op shop finds June 15, 2010

Posted by Sarah in baking, cake, fabric, food, Gempo Fine China Japan, Op Shopping, recycle, Second Hand, Tasmania, tea towel, Thrifting, thrifty, vintage.
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Today, sweaty and exhausted after another tough boxing session at the gym, I headed to the nearby Op Shop to do a little spotting of pretty things.

I came away $6.50 poorer.  But, look what that investment gave me:

5 cake tins, of varying sizes and weights.  I’ve been in need of a Bundt tin for some time, so I was delighted when i found this one for just $1!

This very old cake tin is really quite beautiful.  It’s old enough that it was made in Australia, as was it’s neighbour.  A rare thing now I guess – tins made here.  I think it will make a fine fruit cake tin at Christmas time this year.

I’ve been a fan of thick tourist linen tea towels for some time.  I’ve never been to Tasmania, but this tea towel is quite lovely I think.

While I was scouring the shelves I came across this little coffee cup.  Isn’t it a beauty?  I do not know if it is very old, or very new.  I didn’t find many references to the writing on the bottom of the cup when I did a Google search.  The text says “Gempo Fine China, Japan”.  I don’t mind either way, I think it’s quite lovely.  Definitely my star find of the day!

Our week of food and good times May 20, 2010

Posted by Sarah in baking, cake, chocolate, dining out, draft snake, family, food, holiday, mum, sewing, soup.
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Yesterday I kissed and hugged my Mother goodbye, and watched as the cab she was in pulled away from the curb and headed to the airport.  It is always to special to have her visit, but so bittersweet when she has to leave again.  You see, she’s a special person my Mum.  She’s funny, and silly, and couldn’t care less what people think about her.  She’s creative, but doesn’t know it.  She has a killer sweet tooth.  She makes me feel safe, and warm, and loved.  And she makes me giggle like crazy.  I love that.  I love my Mum.

We did our best to blend in with the Ladies who Lunch crowd.  I think we looked like frauds, but that’s ok with me.

We ate plenty of cake.  An absolute necessity when Mum is around.  This is a little Lemon Polenta cake from the lady at the Saturday markets in Kings Cross.  Delicious.

We caught the bus to Balmain and ate lunch, and too much cake at Adriano Zumbo Cafe.  This one is called Ginger.  Incredible!  Go there, eat this.  Be sure to share, it’s a monster.

There was plenty of sugar-induced giggling going on

We ate at the ever impressive Cafe Sopra in Potts Point

Zucchini Flowers stuffed with 5 italian cheeses.  Perfect every time.

The Jerusalem Artichoke, Broad Bean and Swimmer Crab Soup is to die for.  Perfect in every way.  I do pity the poor kitchen hand who has to peel all those broad beans each day though.

Mum also helped me service my sewing machine, purchased a bunch of my soap, and took home Webley the Whale and Enid the draft snake.

It was a very special week indeed, and I’m so glad we had it all to ourselves.  Till next time!

You might as well face it you’re addicted to Buns April 7, 2010

Posted by Sarah in Addicted, baking, bread, Easter, food, friends, funny, home made.
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I received an email from my friend Marcus this morning regarding his Hot Cross Bun day experience, and I thought it was worth sharing.  Quite possibly the funniest email I’ve ever received.  If I ever open a bakery, this is going on the wall:

Good morning Sarah,

Originally this email was supposed to be a ‘thank you’ email for having us over for your fantastic hot cross buns last Friday.

However, as it is now Wednesday, the hot cross bun withdrawal has fully set in and I can no longer remain in a positive state of mind regarding your rather kind invite. In fact, the more I consider the happenings of the day, the more I realise that it was all a diabolical plan. Much like the drug dealer, you went with the “the first one is free” approach to get your victims hooked until they are willing to pay large amounts to get there next fix.

Let me take you through the last few days. After visiting your place (which is rather lovely by the way), Cassandra and I left feeling rather happy, and content – filled with tasty hot cross buns and fresh orange juice. I have come to believe these to be magical hot cross buns, because, after eating them we felt no desire to have any lunch, and were actually content not have any dinner either as we were filled with hot cross bun goodness – a truly magic food I must say.

By Sunday however, things were beginning to sour a little. All of a sudden hot cross bun regret kicked in. Why didn’t I have another hot cross bun? It’s not like I could get them whenever I want them, it’s a once a year affair…. I should have taken greater advantage of the situation when it presented itself to me…..

I was not prepared for the real trouble though. Little did I know, that after the warm satisfied feeling Sarah’s hot cross buns left me with, that I would no longer be content with other ‘ordinary’ food. Where was the magic?

So now, much like in the gremlins, my problems are multiplying. Where-ever I look, I see hot cross buns. I often return to reality to find myself chewing on an umbrella or a lamp post, which I could have swore was a giant hot cross bun. On top of that, no matter how much food I seem to eat I never feel full! I can eat and eat and eat, but something is missing….. And that something is a magical hot cross bun……. My suit and belt are unimpressed with this situation. I wake up at night, in a cold sweat chewing on my pillow with tears in my eyes longing for another hot cross bun… even half a one! I am beginning to feel like a zombie, limping around the house repeating “buns…..”. If I turn up bleary eyed at your window at the middle of the night drooling – you have no-one to blame except yourself.

Regards

Marcus

P.S. Thank you for inviting us. We had a wonderful time.

Hot Cross Bun day April 3, 2010

Posted by Sarah in apron, baking, bread, butter, dining in, Easter, food, friends, fruit, holiday, home made.
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My Hot Cross Bun making efforts yesterday…

I got up early, popped on a festive frock and my Nana’s apron, and made 4 batches of buns.

My own homemade candied peel was studded throughout

I soaked the currants, sultanas and candied peel overnight in a couple of good slugs of Brandy

I even made the butter that accompanied them

They were devoured with gusto by everyone that came by, a most successful day indeed!

8 of the buns are on a flight to Adelaide with my friend Emma, I hope our friends in South Australia like them  :)

More photos on my Flickr page:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/sarahmcmanus/sets/72157623756983546/

Sourdough baguettes February 13, 2010

Posted by Sarah in baking, bread, cosy, dining in, food, home made.
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I’ve just pulled these beauties out of our oven, my first ever batch of Sourdough Baguettes!

Clotilde from the wonderful blog Chocolate and Zucchini wrote a wonderful post about her Homemade Sourdough Baguettes a few days ago.  I made a sponge for bread last night, and made my dough this morning.  I decided to shape and rise the dough as baguettes at the last moment, rather than make my regular rustic weekend loaf.

I used a combination of wholemeal and white flours, about 2/3 white to 1/3 wholemeal.  The baguettes have a beautiful, tight crumb and an excellent crust.

I would suggest that we eat these outside with a picnic lunch, but judging by the crazy storms we’ve had in Sydney the past few days I don’t think that will happen.

J has just pulled the most magnificent field mushroom, thyme and blue cheese pizza from the oven, so I don’t think we’ll be going hungry anytime soon.

Baguettes for breakfast anyone?

My weekend February 8, 2010

Posted by Sarah in baking, clothes, cosy, Craft, custom order, dining in, embroidery, fabric, felt, food, friends, fruit, gift, green, home made, jam, preserving, sewing, toy.
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It rained for days this past weekend.  It was the perfect weather for staying indoors and creating.

This is what my weekend looked like:

I made Jam.

And a sweet little bear for a sweet friend.

We have a bear who sits on our couch to keep us warm and humble.

A friend loved him so much that I was asked to make another for someone’s birthday.

We had said friend’s over to adopt their new Bear.  I made buttermilk scones.

We had the scones with my homemade jam – plum and cinnamon, and boysenberry.

I made this little peas in a pod toy for another friend.

And I stitched this jar cover while we watched a video last night.

I also made some extremely cute and very short sleep shorts.  Which I slept in last night, all smuggly proud of myself for having made them without a pattern.  Or measuring myself!

How was your weekend?  I hope yours was as gloriously peaceful as mine.

Cut-out cookies January 28, 2010

Posted by Sarah in baking, butter, cookies, food, home made.
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Today was definitely a cookie making day.  J was home sick, it was dark and stormy outside, and I was busy working away on some upcoming projects.

I bought some great new cookie cutters when I was on holiday in San Francisco in May last year.  Until today I still hadn’t used them, so this afternoon I pulled them out and happily stamped away at the dough.

The copper Chicken and Rabbit are part of a set of Easter cutters that were on a great special.  The copper is just lovely, quite strong and solid.  The Bear, Hummingbird and Squirrel were all bought from the same store, as momentos from my holiday.

I used Nigella Lawson’s recipe for Butter Cut Out Cookies, from her cookbook How to be a Domestic Goddess.  I added a touch of mixed spice to the recipe for added flavour.  I’m not much of an icing fan, so they’re going to remain unadorned.  I think they’re perfect just the way they are.

I popped tiny pieces of foil over the Hummingbird beaks to stop them from browning too quickly – it worked a treat!