What I did during February

In celebration of my first full month writing my blog, I thought I would give a little re-cap of what I got up to during this past month. One of the main reasons for starting my blog was so that in several years or even just months down the track, I can look back at my blog and be reminded of some of the things that happened each month. I would like to say that I’ll remember them all, but we all know that its just not possible which is why I think having them all written down on here is going to be great!

So he we go, my first re-cap

Starting my blog!

I officially started my blog in January, but I didn’t really get into the swing of regular posts until February. My aim when I started my blog my plan was to write 3 posts a week. I didn’t want to start a blog then only update it once in a blue moon. And I must say I think I have been doing pretty well. I have made the effort to do some more baking and I’ve dusted off my DSLR camera and snapped some pretty good picks. Feeling rather pleased with myself!

 

Reading more books.

One of the first posts I wrote this month was about reading more books, click here to read it.  And on this front I failed, massively. I really really want to get back into reading, but I guess its like a lot of things, once you stop doing it, it’s really difficult to get back into the habit. I started reading “Snobs” but then got side tracked with reading cooking/baking blogs and binge watching TV shows. I am very good at that! Must do better next month!

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Ballet

February was the month I started my first ever beginners class! I was so nervous/excited for my first class. And if I’m being completely honest, it was a massive disappointment. I sucked at the class, like big time! It was SO hard, I thought after over a year of basics I would be ok,  expected it to be a step up from basic, but what I wasn’t expecting was not being able to do any of the exercises… AT ALL! I felt like crying on the way home, I was gutted. The next week I had a chat with the coordinator and mentioned that I found the class really hard. She said that I wasn’t the first person to say that. It seems that the level of difficulty in each of the beginners classes depends on the teacher. Due to the overwhelming feedback, the new block of classes starting after Easter have been separated into beginner 1 and beginner 2. I have now enrolled in beginner 1 – the class I tried has now been allocated as beginner 2. No wonder I found it so hard. I will be sure to update you all on how beginners 1 goes after Easter. New goal for 2016 – make it to beginner 2.

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Valentines Day

This is the third year my partner and I have been together for Valentines Day. We don’t normally do much to celebrate it but this year I organised Gold Class tickets to see Deadpool, the tickets also included dinner and dessert during the movie. I wasn’t really that bothered about seeing it, but I know Ben really wanted to see it. He kept showing me the trailers almost every time a new one came out. I actually didn’t mind the movie at all, it had some really funny laugh out loud moments in it (the Hugh Jackman references made me laugh – a lot)  and I thought Ryan Reynolds was great. I also liked that it wasn’t too long either. A lot of movies these days are often 30-45mins longer than they really need to be. This one was fun, fast paced, entertaining and certainly didn’t drag. You could drive a bus through the plot holes, but overall it was a lot of fun. Not a bad way to spend Valentines Day at all. 🙂

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Personal Training

This month saw me start personal training sessions with my friend Claire, she runs a fitness company called Montage Fitness, check her out if you’re in Perth! I hate gyms and group fitness classes, but I need to increase my fitness levels. Ballet is helping a lot, but I really wanted to do something on top of that. Finding the motivation to do it myself just wasn’t working. I now have a training session with Claire once a week (that’s all the budget will allow) and so far we’ve had two training sessions and they’ve been great. I think training with Claire once a week plus my ballet classes will really help me increase my fitness and to stay in shape once winter gets here. I’m sure I’m not the only one who manages to pile on the kgs during the cooler months!

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Theatre/shows

I managed to catch a few really great shows during February. Ben and I only got to the Perth Fringe Festival once this year, which was a bit sad, but the show we saw was FABULOUS. We saw Le Gateau Chocolat and it was amazing, I saw his previous fringe show here a few years ago and when I saw he was coming back to Perth I booked tickets immediately and he did not disappoint.

 

My friend Sarah and I made the trek down to the Koorliny Arts Centre to see their production of The Little Mermaid. I love all things Disney and also all things musical so I was really excited to see the show. I know the cartoon almost word perfect (It was the first movie I saw in the cinema) but I actually don’t know the Broadway show very well at all, so it was exciting to see all of the new parts. Overall I think everyone involved did a wonderful job, there were some stand out performances on stage, plus the sets and costumes were fabulous. It was a really fun and enjoyable night at the theatre

I have lots of amazingly talented friends and this month one of my oldest friends was in town performing with The Ten Tenors. I have known Jared since we were at high school together and I am so proud of everything he has achieved. He has been touring the country and the world with the Ten Tenors for the last few years and I was so happy I got to see him up on stage performing his little heart out to his home crowd. It turned into a bit of a family affair, with my mum and dad joining Ben and I at the show. My mum has known Jared for almost as long as I have and my dad loves classical and opera music. So really it was a win win for everyone!

I could ramble for hours and hours about all sorts of random things that have happened during February, but I think I will leave it there. I can’t believe that it is March tomorrow already. The year is going  by so fast, although I am looking forward to the three public holidays we have this month. I love a good long weekend 🙂

So that was February – Bring on March!!

 

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Donuts and Cronuts, oh my!

On Wednesday night my good friend Sarah and I attended a donuts and cronuts baking class at Sweet Artist Academy. It’s been a while since I last went to a baking class, but Sarah is a baking/cooking class expert, having attended several classes at Sweet Artist Academy and various other courses around town, I was in good hands. A few years ago we attended a pastry making course together and I failed spectacularly. Ok, so there might not have been any official grading, but for the week we were meant to make rough pastry, I made a biscuit – a rock hard biscuit. Sarah however made this. So  needless to say I was slightly nervous at the idea of making Cronuts.

 

After an epic drive from south of the river all the way north to Joondalup, in peak hour traffic, we arrived ready and raring to get our bake on. The class started at 6pm and was to finish at 9pm, we ended up finishing after 9.30pm, but time certainly didn’t drag. We were constantly busy either measuring out ingredients, hitting and rolling out the butter (so much fun!) rolling the dough or frying the donuts in oil. So much to do, so little time but so much fun.

I was super happy with the results, especially after my rough puff pastry disaster.

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We ended up coating half our donuts and cronuts with chocolate ganache and half with cinnamon sugar. I must say that even though we were both exhausted and it was well after 9pm on a school night, we simply couldn’t say no to eating a freshly cooked donut covered in cinnamon sugar – I could easily have eaten all of them.

 

If I wasn’t already super impressed with our baking skills with the donuts, check out our cronuts!

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How good do they look. I couldn’t believe how amazingly well they turned out – I mean look at those layers!!! Plus they tasted AMAZING.

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We were given a recipe book to take home with us in case we wanted to make these again. I might try and make them again, one day. They aren’t too difficult to make, just a bit time consuming, mainly because the dough has to sit and rest in between rolling and folding (for the cronuts) and you need to prove the dough for the donuts. All of this takes time, if I do decide to give these another go, I will have to make sure I have plenty of time up my sleeve. You can’t rush the process or your donuts and cronuts just won’t work.

 

Sorry about the random look of the photos in this post. I didn’t get home from the class until almost midnight, I tried to take a few quick pictures the next morning before work but wasn’t very happy with them. I took a few more when I got home and tried some different coloured back grounds. Not really loving the lack of theme and continuity with the photos, but oh well. Better luck next time.

 

 

 

Rainbow Cookies

I love eating cookies. Everything from chocolate chip to ANZAC Cookies, but for some reason when it comes to baking, they are never something I seem to make. I tend to always bake cupcakes or slices, never cookies. So today I thought I would change that. I logged on to Taste where I tend to get a lot of my recipes and ideas from. I typed in cookies and a pic of some really cute cookies with a Freckle in the middle popped up. They looked super cute so I thought I would give them a go.

 

Rainbow cookies

Ingredients

250g Butter, room temperature

1 Cup of brown sugar

1/2 Cup of caster sugar

3 Teaspoons of vanilla extract

2 Eggs

2 3/4 Cups of plain flour

1 Teaspoon of baking powder

200g Packet of chocolate freckles

 

 

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Method

Pre heat oven to 180C/160C fan-forced.

Line3 large baking trays with baking paper

Beat the butter, both sugars and vanilla extract in an electric mixer (as usual I used my fabulous bright pink Kitchen Aid) until the mixture becomes light and fluffy.

Carefully add one egg at a time, beat well making sure the eggs are well combined. Always make sure to start your mixer on low every time you add in a new ingredient. You don’t want your mixture going every where!

Sift your flour and baking powder. Add approximately 1/2 cup at a time to the butter mixture, combine well with a wooden spoon. Once you have added all the flour and baking powder mix well with a wooden spoon until well combined.

You might remember from my cupcake post I like to weigh my mixture before baking. I did the same with these cookies. That way helps to achieve a more even bake. I rolled approximately 20gs of mixture in round balls and placed them on my prepare baking tray. When placing your dough balls on your tray, allow space for spreading.

Place 1 freckle in the centre of each dough ball and press down gently.

Bake for about 12-15mins. As my oven has hot and cold spots I usually set my timer for half the amount of time required, turn the trays around then re setting the timer for the remainder of the time.

Recipe adapted from Rainbow Cookies from http://www.taste.com.au/

 

 

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So there you have it. Really simple and yummy Rainbow Cookies. I feel my photography skills are improving ever so slightly. Not happy with the lighting in some of the pics but overall I think I’m getting better. Now just have to work on improving my food styling skills 🙂

 

Happy baking 🙂

 

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