July 13, 2014

Baked apple custard donuts

Words by Jamie at The Cake Eating Co.
Photography by Hohua at Hohua Photography

There is nothing that gives a more delicious flavour in food than fresh delicious produce. As we all know availability of fresh fruit somewhat wanes in the colder months. Lucky for us the foods that are readily available make wonderful comfort food.

Apples are in abundance, juicy and sweet, they are perfect for cooking into so many desserts and treats. They pair perfectly with a wide variety of aromatic spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and vanilla so whilst cooking your kitchen is filled not only with the beautiful smells of apples but also those lovely spices!

Recipe - Makes 12

Doughnut dough

7g yeast
100g white sugar
5g flaked sea salt
375ml milk
2 eggs
90g butter
625g flour

1. Heat the milk until it is about 50 degrees (similar to a warm shower) and transfer to a large bowl.
2. Stir in yeast and 1/3 of the sugar. Place in a warm place for 5 minutes or until it looks 'creamy'
3. Whisk the eggs and melt the butter. Add to the milk mix.
4. While mixing slowly add the flour to the wet mix until a dough forms. The dough should feel tacky to touch but should not stick to you. Add a more flour in small additions if necessary.
5. If you are hand kneading knead for 10 minutes or 8 in a machine on low.
6. Cover the bowl in glad wrap and leave aside in a warm place until the dough has doubled inside. Preheat oven to 180degrees. (MAKE CUSTARD AND CINNAMON SUGAR)
7. Knock the dough back by giving it one large 'punch'. Re-knead the bread for a minute to redistribute the yeast. Roll into 12 balls, place on a greased tray and set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes.

8. Fill a frying pan with about 2 cm of oil. Heat for 3-4 minutes on high then add your donuts. Add them without over filling the pan. Once brown on one side flip and cook the other. Remove from oven and place on a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes.
9. Remove from oven and toss in cinnamon sugar.
10. Using a piping bag with a thin nozzle push it into the doughnut and fill with custard.
11. Eat

Baked apple custard

100g sugar
6 apples
6 cinnamon sticks
60g brown sugar
280ml milk (full fat)
2 eggs
35g flour
10g custard powder
2t vanilla paste (I love Heilala)

1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees and line a tray with baking paper.
2. Core the apples and place on lined tray. In the centre of each apple place on cinnamon quill and sprinkle the brown sugar between them.
3. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let it cool for 5 minutes. Peel the skin off with you hands and place in a blender.
4. In a pot bring milk to the boil.
5. In a bowl combine the eggs and the white sugar, whisk. Add the vanilla paste, flour and custard powder. Whisk.
6. Once the milk comes to the boil slowly pour it into the egg mix ensuring that you are whisking the whole time. Return the mix to the stove but reduce heat to medium. Whisk while reheating. Once bubbles start to appear remove from the heat and put in blender with the apples.
7. Blend the custard and apples until a smooth puree is formed. Transfer to a container, cover with glad wrap and put a lid on. Put in the fridge.

Cinnamon sugar

In a bowl combine 3 tablespoons of cinnamon with 1 cup of white sugar. Mix.

July 03, 2014

If I knew then, what I know now...

Today we have our first ever edition of 'If I knew then what I know now...' where you get the opportunity to take a peek into the day to day lives of some of New Zealand's most fabulous crafters and designers. 

First up we discover the fabulous workshop of Maxine from The Pewter Hutt, not only does she work from this space but she also uses it to host workshops - if you live in Wellington you'll have to pop across and join in the fun!

I hope you enjoy meeting Maxine and her space as much as we have!

'I am a procrastinator of note and spend ages doing things like checking emails, Facebook and Pinterest before I sit down to craft. I often get totally into it, only to then berate myself for wasting so much time because now of course it's almost that time to fetch my son from school and take him to extra-curricular's etc.'

I have learnt that the few thing I need the most in a studio are:

1. A window with a view, it doesn't have to be the best view in the world (although my current one would take a lot to beat). 

2. A great audio book - because Talkback Radio that I used to listen to just gets me worked up in a bad way. I am currently listening to Melissa Gilberts, 'The Signature of All Things' it is beautiful and inspiring and I am totally in love with it. As of course I was with 'Eat Pray Love' too. 

3. A space to drink a coffee and 'just sit' - away from my work station. It revives me and helps me to re-focus and prioritise. Being a procrastinator, I seriously need this. It feels more productive than having a game of cards that leads to 'just one more' haha. 

4. Good lighting - very important.

5. A comfy work chair - this however is a work in progress as I am yet to find the right fit!

All set for a creative workshop
I view being able to work from home as a privilege, one that I never take for granted. The first thing I do when I walk through my door in the morning is be thankful for my amazing space and the opportunities that will be created because of it. 

It can be lonely and sometimes creativity doesn’t flow - I NEVER force it. On days like that, I catch up on filing, I sort through piles of discarded ‘craft experiments’ and even just phone a friend for a chat. I know that it will come back and I allow it to happen by itself. 

In todays world of technology including Facebook and Pinterest it is difficult to always be original. Just when you think you have made/have an idea for something unique and beautiful, someone has already done it, or at least something similar. It's a challenge but not one that is insurmountable. A change here, a tweak there, an addition there, a different material there and before you know it, its your own creation. 

My biggest challenge is getting the message across to people that each of my pewter creations is totally hand-made. No two pieces are ever the same even if the design is very similar. I don’t just make one range, I am constantly making something totally different, but always with pewter. It is my passion. I love the feel of the tool on the metal and different effects that can be achieved with it. 

I am a firm believer in buying the best tools you can afford. It avoids setting yourself up for failure and frustration. Tools, in my mind, make the difference between creating mediocre pieces and stunning pieces of art.

Maxine's ‘take a breather and have a coffee break’ space.
The 'Studio Princess' has her own chair.
I have worked, practised and perfected my craft through many years of dedicated love for the metal. Not only do I love to create but my second love, albeit a very close second, is teaching the craft. There is quite a process to it, but it lends itself to learning something new in each workshop, until you are able to combine all the techniques to make beautiful unique creations that will last for generations.  

You can use pewter repousse (repujardo, embossing) to change the look and feel of something you already own to up-cycling/changing something that you have grown bored of or feel is out-dated. You can make something look old or you can make it modern and up-dated. The possibilities are endless and each day that I step into this glorious space and feel surrounded by creativity and inspiration is a good one. In fact, the life of a crafter/artisan is a good one!'

July 02, 2014

Hibiscus - The Wedding

I do.

I did!

Seven years ago now, on a beach, on New Years Eve, at sunset.

I remember fondly making my 'bouquet' with my husband's uber creative aunty, who also made our daughter's and bridesmaids flower ensembles. I say ensemble, as I chose a fairly non traditional way to incorporate flowers into our mix – we wore arm bands of my favourite flower, the frangipani.

But I digress. Here are some fabulously simple DIY wedding ideas.

Something old, something new, something you could potentially borrow and blue? Well, you could tie that one in anywhere!

Vintage Doily Wrist Cuff

One of my personal favourite pieces of jewellery is my vintage doily cuff.
I wear it and it just makes. Me. Feel. Special.

I have a teeny few (read: I hoard) vintage doilies at home just waiting for special projects like this one. If you are buying one specifically for the job, then rummage your local second hand stores to find one that suits.

I chose a caramel coloured circle shape and a lighter coloured diamond star shape. Checking for fit is simple, just wrap the doily around your wrist to check it overlaps, and it might pay to check there are natural 'holes' in the crochet pattern for you to pop your buttons through.

The size of your buttons are determined by these slots also.

Before you sew your buttons on, try it a few times to ensure button placement and fit, you don't want it too loose, as it will slip around a tad.

I wear my circle cuff both with buttons showing, and buttons to the inside of my wrist. I must say, I am a little bit enamoured.

Decoupage Cufflink

Linking you as a couple, this is a great way to add your own story to your the Groom's wedding outfit.
Because let's face it, Groom's can often skip the hoo-ha of wedding day outfit fussing!

Blank cufflinks are available at stores such as Beadz Unlimited, or online via New Zealand websites such as Made By Me.

The bezel settings come ready to go, with the only tools you'll need being some trusty Mod Podge, and your photos or maps.

I made some using place names which my Husband and I had travelled to as a couple.
An equally beautiful idea if you have treasured ones who have passed on, is to use their photos so they will be close on your special day.
Alternatively, photos of yourselves or your children (if, like us, you bucked the idea of tradition and had children first!).

With a quick snip and mod podge into the setting, then another thicker modge coat on top (this acts as a glue for the cabochon to seal to the bezel setting), 24 hours drying time later – viola! A personalised keepsake of not only your magical day, but also one that is you, as a couple, to a t.

Conveniently, for those without Mod Podge on hand, there is also a 'screw and go' setting available which requires no gluing, though might not hold up so well in the rain!

Scrabble Nameplates

Let's face it. Scrabble tiles are incredibly in vogue.
Why not incorporate them into your table setting, signing of the register table, or photographs?
Simply borrow, scour the op shops, or bust out your own Scrabble set, and go wild with it!
Here are some I have created in the past, retro vogue at it's finest...

Do enjoy! The creating that is, and while you're at it, have a magical wedding day too x Kirstee Griffiths of Hibiscus

July 01, 2014

Little Misters First Cake - Coconut Strawberry Cake

Recipe from Jamie at The Cake Eating Company

We had a family friendly baking day today. For us this pretty much entails baking something that requires ONLY moderate paced stirring as for mister almost two that is one of his favourite hobbies of 'cooking'.

This recipe is perfectly adapted for the small people in the world or the big people short on time. It uses oil instead of butter which means that is keeps for a bit longer. However if you have little people like mine around then you won't be able to keep it for any longer than the night!

Coconut strawberry crumble cake
Makes 1x 8" cake

2 1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1 cup coconut milk (or if you are feeling extra decadent use some coconut cream)
2 tablespoons strawberry powder (Fresh As is deeelicious)

1.Preheat oven to 160 degrees. Grease and line an 8" cake tin
2. In a bowl combine and sift the dry ingredients and make a well in the center

3. In a second bowl combine the milk, eggs and oil. Whisk together and pour into the dry ingredients. Mix together and pour into the cake pan.

4. Lick the spoon to check that it tastes good

5. Top with crumble and bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Make sure you keep stirring because it really is the most fun (please don't stir after the crumble goes on, or once the cake is in the oven. You might get burnt.

Crumble topping
1/3 cup flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Rub the butter into the flour. Add the sugar, coconut and cinnamon. Spread evenly over the cake.

Strawberry compote (for the side - naturally)
200g strawberries (frozen is good, especially in winter)
50g sugar

1. Combine ingredients in a pot. Heat until the sugar dissolves. Puree and set aside to cool. Serve with drizzled over the finished cake.

Final Step:


June 29, 2014

Rose In Thorns

Rose in Thorns has been my creative outlet for quite some time now. It began many years ago as rose among thorns, a brand I used for freelance graphic design work. A couple of years later I decided I would like to get back into candlemaking again, and I setup a stand at Craft World as ‘Candles by rose among thorns’. This was put on hold for a few more years to make time for our OE and then our wedding. At the same time the local craft scene was beginning to grow, so I decided to join in!

I looked into different alternatives to the rather unsustainable paraffin wax I had been using, and found that recycling old candles and using soy wax were two options worth exploring further. Since then, the range has evolved quite a lot, and I made the leap to self-employment after I discovered permanent jobs aren’t always permanent. I still dabble in graphic design, and have worked on the Pay it Forward brand.

You are actively involved with Pay It Forward, what do you enjoy most about being involved with this project? I like having our own wee shop! It’s something I’ve always dreamed about, but the reality of setting one up and running it means it never got past that stage. Unlike having your products in other stores, you get to choose what to display, and how to display it. I really like having that input, and seeing what works and what doesn’t. It’s great working with the other designers behind the scenes too, everyone has different skills, and together we’ve created something quite special.

You have a background in Graphic Design, how do you think this has shaped the brand in front of us today? My logo has evolved along with the business, I think it’s on its third incarnation now! It definitely helps to give my brand a more professional feel, though like all specialists in their field, I never seem to spend enough time on it as I think I should! I often get comments from people saying how they love the look of my brand.

What does an average day look like to you? I have a one year old son, so there is no such thing as an ‘average’ day! I try to sneak in some work while he naps, but often there’s a juggle between that and the household chores. I have some regular candle and design clients, so I’ll often try to keep up to date with their work, and I’ll make any candle orders, or replenish stock that is running low. Candle making is a disjointed process, as once the candles are poured, I usually wait to the next day before I can finish them. Consequently there can be several half finished batches of candles in progress at any given time! If there is any spare time, I might work on some new designs, or do some marketing on social media. Then of course there is the paperwork that always takes longer than I would like it to!

Who do you consider to be your muse? I don’t really have one, to be honest! I’ve always tried to keep my candles a little different to what’s already out there, so I’m usually looking for the gaps to fill, or what’s not there.

What does your creative look like? Do you keep sketch/recipe books? Have an online journal? It mostly lives in my head. I aspire to be organised, and keep track of everything, but I tend to end up with lots of bits of paper. I have lots of lists to help remind what I want to do next, but it almost seems to be a lot longer than the available time I have to do it.

What is the best piece of creative advice you've learnt on your creative journey? You don’t know until you try.

Where to next? Where do you see Rose in Thorns heading in the future? I still have a list of things I thought I could make when I first signed up to Felt all those years ago. Some I have tried, some given up on, and some still sit there, waiting. I like drawing and painting, and would love to get into illustration, and do a range of greeting cards and maybe other stationery or prints. I do have a new project I’m working on at the moment. It’s getting closer to completion, so hopefully I will be able to reveal all soon!

June 24, 2014

The 5 way files - 5 ways with Pegboard

Pegboard is a material that flies well beneath the radar, like hanging out in garages with tools hanging of it kind of radar.  But actually, there are some great ideas on ways to make it look pretty cool.  I am implementing some into my new crafting space, (which has been a long time coming!) the tricky part is really deciding on what design I like the best!  Here are 5 ways to use Pegboard that would look great in a space you love.

DIY Pegboard Letter

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Desk Organisation


'Ingrained' designs contemporary jewellery with particular emphasis on nature and personalisation. My vision is to create meaningful jewellery with a long lasting appeal. We gained a loyal following through our 'name on rice' jewellery and that is how the name 'Ingrained' was born. For that I'm thankful to all the people who have supported me. I receive great pleasure making personalised pieces and especially receiving feedback from fans, sometimes it's a simple expression of gratitude, other times my pieces have brought tears to someone's eyes. It is fascinating that a piece of jewellery can have that effect. I’ve always believed that jewellery design can be more than just creating something with superficial appeal. 

Right now... I am thinking about Summer and how nice it would be right now in this freezing cold apartment. That and of course the meaning of life, did someone say 42? 

Clicking on... Hazel Loves Design actually, brimming with talent and inspiration.

Following... I keep tabs on various blogs from time to time but nothing I follow religiously.

Thinking about... Where Ingrained is heading, particularly with upcoming craft markets this year.

Listening to... An Electric Heart, emerging pop duo hailing from Napier, New Zealand.

Saving for... We are going to be buying a car soon, small but super roomy. Is there such a thing?

Obsessed with... Art, Jewellery Design, Cocker Spaniels.

Reading... Quake Dogs – Heartwarming stories of Christchurch dogs.

Doing... Putting the finishing touches on an order to go out today.

Excited about... Upcoming craft markets!