Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I hope that everyone has a wonderful Christmas no matter what you are doing. I've been meaning to post a few pics of my Christmas ornaments that I bough while I was in the US...

I absolutely love them. I was lucky enough to get them while they were 40% off at Macys.
I wish I bought more of them though... oh well guess Ill have to go back there :)

'Tis the season to get baking!

I've been baking for a few days now, in preparation for the festive season, which has come around again so quickly. So I thought I would post one of my favorite Christmas recipes... simple to make and oh so tasty, Chocolate Shortbread! Enjoy!

Chocolate Short Bread Stars
• makes about 45
• Prep time is 15 minutes + 1hr chilling time and 10 minutes cooling time
• 25 minutes cooking time
• Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks

200 g butter, cubed at room temperature
150g (1cup) icing sugar, sifted
1 egg, at room temperature
1tsp vanilla essence
350g (2, 1/2 cups) plain flour
50g (1/2 cup) cocoa powder
1 egg white, lightly whisked
2tbs sugar

Time to cook:
1. Use electric beaters to beat butter and icing sugar in a medium bowl for 2-3 minutes or until pale and creamy. Add egg and vanilla essence and beat for a further 10 minutes or until well combined.
2. Sift together the flour and cocoa and add to the butter mixture gradually. Use the slowest speed on the electric beaters to mix the sifted ingredients into the butter mixture, until the mixture starts to come together (don't allow to form a ball). Bring the mixture together with your hands and shape into a disc. Cut the disc in half, wrap each portion in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1 hour to chill.
3. Preheat oven to 180c. Line 2 large baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
4. Roll out one portion of dough on a lightly floured surface, using a pressing movement with the rolling pin, until 1.5cm thick. Use a biscuit cutter to cut the dough into shapes. Place the shapes on the lined trays about 1cm apart. gather the dough scraps together and repeat the process.
5. Brush the surface of the cookies with egg white and sprinkle evenly with sugar.
6. Bake in preheated oven for 12-13 minutes or until the shortbread is firm to touch. remove from the oven and cool on trays for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Repeat steps 4 to 6 with the second portion of dough.

Here are some pics of the process and the yummy yummy finished cookies....

Cookies about to go into the oven...

Cookies cooling...

Mmmmm... Cookies!

Make sure you make them thick, like this.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

We have a winner.... Sara Lynn

Congratulations to Sara who posted Mary Blair as her favorite artist. Sara is an illustrator, a vegetarian, and a librarian-in-training. She enjoys children's books and would someday like to write and illustrate her own (as would I). She also enjoys toys, making bread, and watching Disney movies (as do I).

Thanks to everyone who loved my Paulie enough to enter.

Now here is a little about Sara's chosen artist Mary Blair....

Mary Blair was a concept artist and colour stylist at Disney, working on films such as The Three Caballeros, Peter Pan, Cinderella, and Alice In Wonderland (no wonder I love her too).

After retiring from Disney she became a freelance artist doing advertisements, book illustration, and paintings. She was eventually called to come back so she could design the famous theme park attraction, It’s A Small World.

Mary Blair’s whimsical style is still an influence for many young artists.

Her work contributed to the films that children still know and love. She helped break the glass ceiling that barred women from moving up in animation-related fields.

Just a beautiful style of illustration.

Thanks again Sara for sharing your favorite artist with us. I'll be sure to send Paulie on his way to you. If not before Christmas, he'll be on his way in the New Year.

Please be sure to visit Sara's blog and her etsy store.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Im Back!!!

Hi guys, sorry I haven't blogged for soooo long. After my trip things got a bit hectic.. work, Christmas shopping etc. Its a crazy time of year, as I'm sure you all know.

Here are a few pics of my favorite sites of NYC, starting with Central Park. It was freezing cold compared to Melbourne but the sun was out and the trees were beautiful and we were lucky enough to see quite a few squirrels hunting around in the leaf litter for acorns. Absolutely Loved it!

We were lucky enough to have stayed right in the heart of the action, Times Square. No matter what time of day or night the streets were swamped with people. Great sites, great food (loaded with sugar) and GREAT shopping :)

Times Square
View from lower Manhattan. Of Jersey I think :)
Grand Central Station
Busy city streets, view of the Chrysler Building
The city of Manhattan as seen from our hotel.
So now I'm back and I promise Ill draw the winner of my give away soon. Ill extend the deadline to this Friday the 10th, So if you're still interested in winning, comment on the previous give away post. Good luck and hope all of your Christmas shopping is going well!