This weekend we celebrated...Mexican Style! It was so much fun, thank you to everyone who came to help us finish off a hard year in style.
There have been so many people we are so indebted to and it was great to have a way to thank everyone all at once. Obviously not everyone could make it, but we had a drink and a toast to you. Especially to the wonderful staff at Auckland Hospital (mum and Amanda represented you!).
Complete with a boobie pinata, tequila jelly shots and margarita cupcakes the evening was a great success! And hopefully we will never have to celebrate finishing chemo and radiation ever again.
At the beginning of my diagnosis this little shop opened up in Forrest Hill and I've been getting daily Facebook updates on the daily flavours and events of the shop. I salivate everytime. Today for example their flavours for sale are banoffee, choc raspberry, vanilla filled with passionfruit, vanilla stawberry, caramel, choc bomb and JAFA. Sounds delish yeah?
This little shop is Delish Cupcakes.
I heard about these ladies last year when my dad went to the Auckland Food Show and came across the Delish Cupcakes stall. Their progress has been from friends who bake and decorate fantastic cupcakes together to actually opening up a beautiful shop with different flavours everyday. So I thought it was high time to get myself up to Forrest Hill to try them out.
And I wasn't disappointed.
I bought a chocolate with chocolate ganache cupcake and my niece Zara chose a lemon raspberry. Both came in these adorable wee boxes so they wouldn't get squished. The chocolate had a beautiful rich ganache with a lovely moist chocolate cake, and the lemon raspberry had a lemon curd filling with a creamy, sweet and slightly tangy raspberry buttercream which was absolutely delicious (I got to try both, as we left them in the car and forgot about them in our hurry to get Zara to the airport, so she missed out on eating her one....lucky me!). These gals know how to please a fussy cupcake lover like me!
Delish Cupcakes cater for weddings, birthdays, corporate functions, baby showers etc and you can even order online.
So if you are in the area - Shop 4, 14-16 Raines Ave, Forrest Hill - then I suggest you pop in and have a squiz and try out a cupcake and a coffee. They also have a range of decorating products if you are inspired to go home and try decorating your own!
Well you can tell by my lack of posts this last week that I've been busy enjoying myself! Now I've announced to the world that I'm free I've had a few plans developing in the pipeline for next year which are pretty exciting. One of which includes going back to school. Well not really proper school, but a higher form of education in the area of photography. I'm so excited about this, so watch this space.
Some more things happening are the odd Christmas baking orders, including a Christmas Craft Market next Tuesday night in Northcote and of course organising a party this Saturday night to celebrate the finish of my treatment. If you have been involved and are in Auckland this Saturday please please please come and celebrate with us (Mexican theme) and enjoy some good food and dancing. Email me at delissimon at vodafone dot co dot nz if you are keen and want the address! This is our way of saying thank you for the continuous love and support we've received over the last 8 months!
What I've got to do now, is make sure I don't overdo it, enjoy the Christmas break and get my energy back to return to my original plans for this year with a renewed energy and zest for life.
This cake!!! Oh this cake!! Chocolate and coffee...a marriage of perfection and deliciousness! And this wonderful cake, although almost a disaster (the cake overflowed in the oven) turned out magnificently.
A moist chocolate cake sandwiched with an espresso cream filling and slathered in espresso buttercream, sprinkled with chocolate shavings and drizzed with an espresso syrup. After eating this you need to go dancing or something to work off the caffeine high!
According to Wikipedia the name of this cookie could be German, Dutch or American but whatever the origins but this is a winning biscuit, almost cake like and oh so deliciously cinnamony spicy. Zara chose these to make and I'm so pleased she did.
Madeline has this love of putting cinnamon sugar on her toast as a treat every so often and of course as much as she tries I won't let her take sugar sandwiches to school, so this was the best cookie for the lunchbox! They didn't last long...
So you want the recipe?
Try this one - its from the trusty AWW book and is so easy.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup caster sugar
2 3/4 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon caster sugar (extra)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Beat butter, vanilla and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined. Transfer to large bowl.
Stir in sifted flour, soda and nutmeg, in two batches. Cover; refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 180deg C and line oven trays with baking paper.
Combine extra caster sugar and cinnamon in a small shallow bowl. Roll level tablespoons of the dough into balls; roll balls in cinnamon sugar. Place balls on tray about 7cm apart.
Bake for 12 mins.
And just for an extra sugar rush I tried sandwiching two snickerdoodles with some espresso buttercream. Result? Pretty naughty but pretty delish! Hehe.
Eek I'm in love with these baked mini doughnuts! I love things in mini!
Owens niece Zara came up for the week to hang out and have a break before she embarks on a pastry course down in Nelson next year. Someone who loves to bake to hanging out with another person who loves to bake = so much fun in the kitchen...especially when it came to the eating part!
I'm going to post some recipes and things we have been up to over the weekend over the coming week, but the first is these ADORABLE mini doughnuts which I am in love with. What's better is that these are baked, not deep fried so they aren't as complicated or fatty (if you don't think about how easy it is to pop lots in your mouth because they are so mini!!!!) but they are still delicious and of course a feast for the eyes.
The recipe, from Heather at Sprinkle Bakes is below.
1 ½ cups plain flour
¾ cups sugars
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt
1 large egg
½ cup milk
½ cup melted butter
Preheat oven to 180deg C.
Beat milk, egg and vanilla and ¼ of the sugar together.
In a separate bowl mix flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder and salt.
Add flour mixture to egg mixture and beat to combine.
Pour melted butter over dough and mix until incorporated.
Put batter in piping bag and pipe into a doughnut baking pan.
I'm finding I'm doing a lot of reflecting - which means going over a lot of messages and emails that I was sent by friends and family back in April when I was given my diagnosis.
So much was a blur and I didn't take it all in. One thing that meant a lot though was this is link my cousin sent me and has meant a lot to me over the last few months. Thanks Kim for sending it to me.
The lyrics are so powerful.
To everyone who's hurting
To those who've had enough
To all the undeserving
That should cover all of us
Please do not let go
I promise there is hope
Help is on the way
He's come to save the day
What I've learned in my life
One thing greater than my strife
Is His grasp
So hold fast
Will this season ever pass?
Can we stop this ride?
Will we see the sun at last?
Or could this be our lot in life?
Please do not let go
I promise you there's hope
You may think you're all alone
And there's no way that anyone could know
What you're going through
But if you only hear one thing
Just understand that we are all the same
Searching for the truth
The truth of what we're soon to face
Unless someone comes to take our place
Is there anyone?
All we want is to be free
Free from our captivity, Lord
Here He comes
We celebrated the 1st birthday of Miss Maisie Janes this weekend - the little girl of one of my best girlfriends - my "sister" Claire. Don't you love the excuse to have an abundance of pink?
What a sweetie.
I was most impressed with the cake. It was made by the 11yr old neighbour! Impressive huh?
I also made these strawberry cakes with strawberry buttercream. I bought some strawberry powder from the local cake shop and I'm so impressed with it as I used it in the cake mix and the buttercream icing.
SO...on Wednesday I FINALLY finished radiation (YAYAYAYAYAYYYYY!!!!) and just as well it finished this week as I'm pretty sore, especially under my arm. The skin hasn't entirely broken down but its very swollen and red. It feels like the worst sunburn you've ever had over the worst bruise you've ever had.
My skin actually looked quite good compared to what I was expecting because I did the groundwork at the beginning of treatment by applying the cream on my skin and keeping it moisturised before it got bad. I'll also thank the nurses at Auckland as they gave me a great cream called Biafine that's really hard to get here and is made in France - its just a lot better than aqueous cream and was developed specifically for radiation treatment. But I'm hoping it improves quickly as I'm having trouble wearing my bra comfortably, which means I'm whipping it off and wearing loose t-shirts as soon as I get home and its not a pretty sight! Haha.
I'm so relieved that the end of all the nasty hard stuff is done and I can get on with my life. Because next year has all sorts of exciting things in store for us that I'm bursting at the seams about, including my little brother returning from the UK. Yay!
I'm also SO thankful to everyone for support, love, words, food, gifts, time, muscles, patience, encouragement, skills and much much more.
Served with a sweet peach and mint puree - the leftovers made a great addition to yogurt in the kids lunchboxes too.
Taken from a recipe found on the Food Channel website (because I had buckets of creme fraiche to use up!)
340g cream cheese
227g creme fraiche
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup gluten free cookie crumbs (recipe from this previous cheesecake recipe)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
6 canned freestone peach halves, plus 1/4 liquid reserved from can
2 tablespoons chopped mint
Preheat oven to 190 deg C.
Mix cream cheese, creme fraiche and 1/2 cup sugar and beat on medium speed until smooth in a mixer. Add the eggs, cream and vanilla and beat until smooth.
In a mixing bowl, combine the cookie crumbs, butter and the remaining 1/4 sugar and stir until blended.
Place in bottom of 24cm springform tin and press in until evenly spread.
Pour mixture carefully on top and smooth out.
Bake in oven for 40mins or until browned on top and set. Cool in tin on wire rack and transfer to fridge for at least 3 hours.
Blend peaches and mint and pour and serve with cheesecake.
I added the zest of a whole lemon to my mixture and a bit of lemon juice to the peach puree just for an extra wee kick.