ConGRADulations!!

*waves arms around madly*

Long time, no see! And in the time I’ve been absent from my blog, I have managed to graduate from Victoria University of Wellington with a Bachelor of Arts (in English Literature and Philosophy, if anyone is curious!)

YAY I DID IT. xD

Survived all the late nights/early mornings (when things were really desperate!), the bajillion hours spent reading, the crazy first year Halls antics, the essay writing, getting involved in all the fun, extra activities that Vic runs, the even crazier things we got up to in first year (*cough*), the flatting experience, the 9am tutorials that no one ever turns up for, getting lost on campus (more than once!), the lecturers that you just can’t stand, the lecturers that you admire/fangirl over (guilty… *winks*), the awesome people I’ve met and the brilliant friends I’ve made…

The Time. Of. My. Life!

Thanks to everyone who was a part of it – you all had a special role to play, and I won’t ever forget it πŸ™‚

Now, time for some photos!

Me with my proud grandparents πŸ™‚

Mum and I (in matching pink! :D)

It’s my brother! πŸ˜€ (SO MUCH TALLER. I look ridiculous. xD)

One, Two, Three! πŸ˜€

And now, look what my darling mother made! Graduation Cupcakes. Wheeeeeee! With light pink icing to match my BA hood.

*drools*

They were delish. All gone now, sorry πŸ˜‰ My favourite was the one with the white trencher decoration!

And so, that was my graduation ceremony! It was such an exciting night, being able to celebrate with people I’d studied alongside for three years – clapping extra hard when it was their turn on the stage, of course! And thankfully, when it was my turn onstage, I managed a feat of a lifetime and didn’t do anything clumsy like trip over, or do an awkward handshake, hooray! (I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I moved with grace, because my Mum took a video of me walking across the stage, and I look like a hunchbacked troll slumping my way to my diploma, hahaaaa.) Oh, actually – I just remembered. I did the eyebrow raise greeting at the Vice Chancellor. *meep*

I shall leave you with my “Superman” photo, a pose which I simply *couldn’t* resist, what with the “cape” and everything!

Supergrad! πŸ˜€

Have fun!
Bri xx

Fun With A Chelsea Cupcake Masterclass!

*wipes forehead*

What a weekend of fun I’ve just had! After being lucky enough to go to Elton John’s concert in Dunedin on Friday night (blog post coming this week), I was then also lucky enough to get to go to Auckland on Sunday, for an afternoon Cupcake Masterclass run by Chelsea Sugar! My Mum (of course!) had won two spots at the Masterclass for us both. We got flown up to Auckland by Chelsea Sugar and everything – I felt like such a VIP, what with having our taxi paid for (and I’m glad it was, the taxi fare from Auckland Airport to Parnell is not pretty!) and arriving to a wonderful gluten-free lunch made especially for me and my Mum, with THE nicest caramel/chocolate slice ever! Om nom! We were given a brilliant goodie bag, filled with baking treats from Chelsea, a cupcake cookbook, and a lovely apron, as modelled by moi above πŸ˜‰

The Cupcake Masterclass itself was run by Milly’s Kitchen, and so we were treated to amazingly skilled instructors. We were given a heap of epic skills to create our masterpieces… and so, I thought I’d share my cupcakes with you guys! πŸ™‚

So, first up was the Lemon Cupcakes (which I’m holding in the first photo). The different elements were…

  • lemon curd filling, which we punched inside the cupcakes with a nozzle (no scooping out the cupcake, wheee!)
  • a lemon cream cheese icing made using the yummy Chelsea Lemon Flavoured Icing Sugar
  • the fondant flower decorations…

…which were incredibly fun to make! First off, we used a leaf cutter to make the leaves.

The ones on the left are Mum’s, the ones on the right are mine. That white instrument you can see in the background was what we used to mark the veins on the leaves πŸ™‚

Next came the actual rose! This was one of my favourite parts of the class πŸ˜€

The top ones are my roses, and the bottom ones are Mum’s roses. Hehee, as you can see, mine are rather less elegant! My second attempt (right) *was* much better though, and I don’t mind if they don’t look exactly like roses… I don’t actually know that much about real roses vs other real flowers, so… πŸ˜›

Now, to put them all together! – and, we couldn’t forget the BLING! (ie. edible glitter, wheeeeee!)

Next up… Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes. These had…

For the chocolate filigree, we had to pipe out melted chocolate from a piping bag made from baking paper. It was… an interesting experience, that’s for sure! πŸ˜€ I learnt that laughing while piping does not make for the most even of lines. However, at least I wasn’t quite as unco as my dear mother, who went through THREE piping bags because hers kept spilling out over the top, or escaping all over the fine nozzle we had. *giggles* ‘Twas very amusing. Here were my chocolate patterns:

As you can see, I had a bit of fun with my own designs too. Heheee. After they’d set, all that was left to do was put them on the cupcakes! (and BLING it up. Big Time! :D)

Somewhere amongst the mass of chocolate, there is a “L” on the left cupcake, and a “B.J” on the right cupcake. That means that the left one is for my darling brother, and the right one is for me πŸ˜€ Om nom. Virtual cookies (or, should I say, cupcakes!) if you can spot them!

Which leaves only… Raspberry and Vanilla Cupcakes. These consisted of…

  • berry glace icing made from the YUMMY Chelsea Pink Berry Flavoured Icing Sugar. This is my personal fav of the Chelsea Icing Sugars, because it is amazing to watch the white powder turn pink when you mix it! AND when you open the bag, your nose is happily assaulted with the smell of pink marshmellows. *drools*
  • sugared flowers

To make the flowers, we just brushed edible flower petals (we used roses) with the tiniest amount of egg-white, and then coated them lightly in sugar, and left them to dry. That was a novelty for me, because I honestly had no idea you could eat flower petals! *pokes out tongue*

The end result (with the most BLING of them all!):

And so ended our afternoon of fun! And honestly, it was fun in the true sense of the word – silly, crazy, unadulterated and creative, with no rights or wrongs. I don’t think I spend enough time having this kind of fun, so it was good to be reminded of how good it feels πŸ™‚ So, thanks Chelsea Sugar and Milly’s Kitchen! *squeeeee!*

I almost don’t believe that *I* made those! πŸ˜‰ Now, time to eat them… *beams*

Have fun!
Bri xx

Day 21 β€” A Recipe

Mmmm! Love baking. As you might have guessed from all the cakes! This one is a recent favourite (kudos to my Mum who gave it me!)

Caramel Slice (Gluten Free!)

Preheat oven to 180˚C.

Base:
1 cup coconut
125g melted butter
Β½ cup brown sugar
1 cup gluten free flour – OR normal flour!

Combine and spread into a greased tin, or you can line it with baking paper like I do. Bake at 180˚C for 5 minutes.

Filling:
1 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoon golden syrup
1 tin of condensed milk

While base is in the oven, melt together until just mixed. Pour over base and cook for another 10 minutes.

Once you’ve done this, leave it to cool. Then you can ice it with chocolate icing! πŸ™‚

Very yummy recipe, and very easy and quick! As I indicated, I make a gluten free version of this recipe as I am gluten intolerant – and it tastes just like a normal slice! However, I’m sure you can simply substitute normal flour in if you’re lucky enough to not be effected by gluten.

I usually freeze this the same day that I make it. This is common practice for gluten free foods, as they go dry etc quicker. However, by freezing it, I ensure that it lasts longer in that I won’t eat it all at once! Which is very tempting, trust me πŸ˜‰ Be sure to sample a bit while it’s still warm though,Β  it’s goooorgeous!

And speaking of gorgeous – and gorgeous food! – here is Amber’s latest post πŸ˜‰

Have fun!
Bri xx

Day 19 β€” A Talent Of Yours

Erm, so I got a little stuck here, but I think I came up with something suitable. I’m not exactly sure if you’d call this a talent as such… but meh, close enough! πŸ˜€

*giggles*

Cake! Now, honestly – I am not a very good cook. I make very simply dinners, and all that. I do enjoy baking, but don’t make much time for it. However… the one thing I am good at is baking cakes. And, most importantly, icing them in CRAZY COLOUR! πŸ™‚

So yes. I have a talent for colourful cakes.

That is just a wee selection of the past cakes I’ve made – some of them were a collaborative effort with my Mum, but usually she leaves the fun creativity of icing them to me. Oiiii. Just looking at them makes me simultaneously drool and cringe at the sugar overload. A few of them require a story…

  • The cake at the top right corner was for one of my brother’s birthdays, and those yellow things are indeed lightning bolts – bit of a Harry Potter theme, I confess!
  • The cake below that, the bright yellow one, was for my Nana’s recent 80th birthday. I know, some older folk may not appreciate such a… forward cake, but I think my Nana liked it πŸ˜€ Her initials are M.M which is where the M&Ms idea came from – couldn’t fit 80 of them on the cake though (un/fortunately??)
  • The three dozen cupcakes next to that, in the middle, are just a sample of what I would always take to shared lunches, or whatever. Any school event that required a plate, the rainbow cupcakes were there. My friends began to request them. Very fun! πŸ™‚

Since recently becoming gluten free (or near enough) I haven’t made as many cakes – but I am not going to let that ‘bump’ stop me. It just means I’ll have to experiment with new recipes – I’ll need a lot of practice! What a shame that is… πŸ˜‰ hahaaa.

On your way out, step on over to read about Ambers goals and her cuuuute nicknames!

Have fun!
Bri xx