Friday, July 29, 2011

Annabel Langbein was my first.

You never forget your first they say.  And I'm inclined to agree.

The first time I won a competition as a child was when I was 11 or so.  We went to the Bromley School Fair and I entered a raffle.  Handing over my twenty cents I was so hopeful.  And when I found out I'd won I was stoked.  Then they gave me my prize.  A homemade clown.  Well made.  But a clown no less.  Not to sound ungrateful but it was something of a win fail.  Clowns freaked me out and this one was shut in my wardrobe along with Lisa the blonde haired blue eyed doll that could walk by herself if you pressed the walk button.  Terrifying.

Anyway, since then I've not won any competition.  Lady Luck left me.  Probably due to being so hateful towards someone's painstaking hard work and creativity.

For whatever reason, maybe because she believes in second chances, Lady Luck recently returned in the form of a Twitter competition.  I retweeted a post from Annabel Langbein's team and won her book Celebrate, which features cake recipes among other things.  I was on Twitter when the announcement post came through saying I'd won.  And it's fair to say that little old loser me was was shaking with joy.

Not wanting to aggravate Lady Luck again I quickly whipped up a cake for a friends birthday.  It was The Hummingbird Cake.  And this was the result.

And guess what, all that delectable icing wasn't hiding a fail either ... check out the inside ...


So, to the Annabel Langbein team and to Annabel herself - THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!  My first competition win as an adult and the prize was a real winner!

(And to Lady Luck, thanks for visiting, if you want to stick around for a while and perhaps give me the winning Lotto numbers tonight that'd be great.  Just imagine all the cakes I could bake with 17 million.)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sunday baking takes the (cup)cake!

Sundays were made for baking.

I love spending the day in the kitchen baking bread and biscuits and whatever else I fancy.

Well today I fancied baking cupcakes.  For the first time ever.

Now I'll be honest, I was nervous.  While bread and biscuits are easy peasy to bake, I seem to stuff up anything cake-ish.  Including muffins.  Burnt on top and soggy on the bottom?  They're my specialty.  So before starting the cupcakes I did lots of research on the old internet and tried one of the many no-fail recipes for vanilla cupcakes with buttercream icing and raspberry jelly crystals on top.

And these were the results:

I hate to brag, but they weren't bad (my flattie's had two already and she's yet to die).  I'd have liked a fluffier cake, but I think that comes down to the recipe more than the cook.  Next time I'll try a different base recipe.  

And here's a view from the top:

My piping wasn't the best ever.  But I was shaking with nerves (a glass of wine might've fixed that, ha!)
... Next time I'll adopt a firm grip on the bag and squeeze.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Who Wants Camel Toe?

Today I bought a pair of exercise pants.  By Reebok.  So they're real exercise pants.

The ones that cling to every single curve a woman has.  Which is unfortunate if like me you've been blessed by curves.  And by curves I mean a bumpity bum, saddlebags and thighs that would make a rugby player proud.  Curves that no amount of 'watching what I eat' and 'exercising like a mad woman' seem to disappear.  They may shrink in size but they're still there.  And it's safe to say that after over a year of going for the occasional walk with the failed attempt to do the 30 Day Shred the curves are very much there.


A friend of mine has decided we're going to get fit.  And I'm going along for the ride.  We're going to walk.  And we're going to run.

You know I'd quite happily walk for miles in jeans but running in jeans makes you look like you're on the run from the police.

So it's due to the running that I walked into Rebel Sport and subjected myself to 'running pant' try ons.

Now for the record the last time I bought anything exercise gear related was 16 years ago when I was 16.  And it was a maroon leotard.  To go over grey bike pants.  In order to do Suzy Aiken aerobics.  ... Those were the days.

So it's been a while and my lord how things have changed.  You see I don't remember seeing a camel toe in my leotard and bike pants get-up.  Nope, no toe of any sort in sight.  Except on my feet, which I could see, because I couldn't afford proper shoes, so was forced to aerobicise in bare feet.

So there I was in the changing rooms trying on a pair of grey running pants (you know the ones, tight, go down to the calf).  And low and behold there was the toe of the camel.  It's fair to say I got out of those pants quick smart.  So I tried on the black ones.  And I think there was a camel toe there but I couldn't really tell cause the pants were black and the lighting dim.  I gyrated, jiggled and jostled about trying to make the light hit that 'area' so I could see if there was a camel toe.  And you know what, I think there was.  And did I buy the pants anyway?  Yes I did.  Because I don't want people calling the police everytime they see me running around Te Atatu in jeans.

So who wants camel toe?

I, the law abiding citzen, do.

P.S  I usually like posting pictures.  But not this time.  Not on your nelly.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

My unexpected adventure to Pokeno

After a weekend at the in-laws The Husband and I departed to meet my mother at Auckland airport before she went to visit some of the fam on the Gold Coast.  (Why she was having to fly from Christchurch to Auckland then to Oz with Air NZ I'll never know as they do fly direct from chch).

Anyway, we realised we were a bit ahead of ourselves and were going to be 30 minutes early to the airport.  Considering the cost of airport parking we decided to have tootle around the countryside.  "Would you like to go to Tuakau or Pukekohe?" The Husband asked.  "Tuakau" I answered "let's see if the butcher is open I fancy some murguez sausages".  (Seriously they make amazing merguez sausages, though I think they're spelt differently.)

So we took the Pokeno turn off and lo and behold we were met with signs declaring a market was on.  "Shall we pull over" asked The Husband.  Did he really have to ask?  I'd already spied a French flag indicating there would be something French there as well as a Smoked Fish sign.

Now I've been to Matakana and found it too crowded for my semi-country raised tastes.  I like to roam without jostling.  I once even went to the Britomart market and was sorely disappointed with the range (that was years ago, it may have changed).  Le Cigale is lovely if you can beat the crowds.  But they just didn't compared to this.  A true blue country market.

There was sawdust on the ground.

A few people were selling stuff that you could probably buy anywhere (I'm sure I've seen the sock seller at the Hamilton Frankton market, I've certainly bought the same pairs of socks for the same price).  But if you ignored that you found some absolute delights.  Free range eggs for $3.50 a dozen.  Smoked fish for a wee bit more than that.  Homemade pickled onions $4 brought from an elderly lady who was also selling honest to goodness home baking and tea and coffee for $1.  The (I assume because of the flags) French baker had ciabatta for only $4 a loaf.  That's cheaper than Countdown and lots bigger too!  We also bought Grape Juice - which apparently contains that mysterious and hard to say Resveratrol - from a nurse who was into organic stuff.

So we filled our bags and our boot and headed off The Husband excited about the delicious meal coming his way and me happy that I wouldn't have to cook dinner tonight.

Smoked fish with fresh ciabatta and some cheeky pickled onions on the side anyone?  Why not.