Red Velvet

Am I the only one out there that hadn't experienced the goodness that is a red velvet cake? My younger sister dropped by over the weekend while I wasn't home and gifted our fridge with 4 of these home made red delights. I recommend you all get baking - these were ridiculously good.

2 1/2 cups plain flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
60ml red food colouring
120 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

Cream cheese icing ingredients
450g cream cheese, softened
120g unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanill extract
2 1/2 cups icing sugar, sifted
Pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 180°C
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside.
3. In a small bowl, mix food colouring and cocoa powder to form a thin, smooth paste. Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
5. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla and the red cocoa paste, scraping down the bowl frequently with a spatula. Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beat well, then beat in half of the buttermilk.
6. Beat in another third of flour mixture, then second half of buttermilk. End with the last third of the flour mixture, beat until well combined, making sure to scrape down the bowl with a spatula.
7. In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda. Add it to the cake batter and stir well to combine.
8. Working quickly, divide batter evenly between the cupcake papers and bake at 180°C for 15-20 minutes.
9. Cool the cupcakes completely on a wire rack before icing.
10. Icing: With an electric mixer, blend together cream cheese and butter until smooth.
11. Reduce speed to low, and blend in icing sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Increase speed to high, and beat until light and fluffy.
12. Enjoy with a cup of tea.
- Briar


Crinkle Fans

Lunch at home today: I jumped at an excuse to use the crinkle fans from BHLDN that arrived in the post recently (I could shop on that website for hours - everything is so beautiful). My husbands version of the Boathouse snapper pie (his best batch to date in my opinion) was on the menu - and I was in charge of dessert for 6. After a late night on Saturday, I went for the easy option of Gelatissimo gelato and waffle cones...serve yourself style. Big hit, if I do say so myself.

On a different note, my little blog that documents my day to day job is struggling for content a little lately as I'm technically not allowed to talk about the film* I'm working on. The job wraps up in December, so I'll be free to talk shop after that. Until then, I'll continue blogging what I've been blogging - thank god my husband can cook, that's all I can say.
* Read more about the film here, which is allowed - because chances are half of Sydney has read it too.
- Briar



A weekend filled with lots to do is often the best way to make Monday feel a long way away. Looking through my photos tonight, surprise, surprise - my days were rather food focused. I don't want to bore you with more 'what I ate' shots - but I do want to share this. We enjoyed a delicious (and a bit fancy) lunch with the in-laws at Biota Dining in Bowral today, and I was really impressed with the Scandinavian inspired furniture that was made especially for the cool fit out. As much as the Southern Highlands has to offer - it has never really been a true 'foodie' destination. This restaurant has changed that. The dishes are made with fresh produce from the on-site garden, and as my brother in-law pointed out, the food is presented with a Heston Blumenthal vibe. I also loved the science inspired beaker display and the mossy branches dotted around the place (I should add that I took my photos at the end of lunch, which is why the place looks kind of empty). Definitely a place to visit again, and if you want to check out some food photos - there is a great selection on their website.




Our outdoor table resembles a bit of a science lab at the moment. I'm an impatient person, so waiting for a patina on some new terracotta pots was out of the question. With a tip off from my (Landcape Designer) Aunt, I whipped out the natural yoghurt on the weekend. The simple process: Spread the yoghurt and then pieces of moss (I picked some from the footpath out the front) on the pot with a spatula, and then place the pot in a garbage bag for ten days in a shady spot to create a humid environment...and hopefully watch the antique finish grow.
Here is one I prepared earlier. Not really...this Bunnings pot is about 5 years old now, but this was my inspiration. I'll let you know how I go.

Why all the effort for some terracotta? I visited the wholesale nursery Plantmark in Melbourne recently, and my delivery of three very cool cacti arrived last Friday - and they all deserve a fancy new home. I love the idea of planting...I can only imagine how good it must feel for the plants, stretching 'their legs' after being cooped up in those tiny plastic pots.

- Briar


Miss Piggy

Boy, did I eat well last weekend in Melbourne. Here are some of the highlights. Breakfast was smashed avocado and fetta at Three Bags Full in Abbotsford. The second 'wing' had just opened up that morning next door, so we were one of their first lucky customers. I had the best coffee I've had in a while.
A delightful dinner was enjoyed off pretty plates at The Commoner...a place I remembered reading about on this lovely blog.
We took no prisoners over a lunch at this new Kew restaurant - St Katherines serves all the food that you know you're not meant to have. You only live once, I say - and I'm almost tempted to take my husband to Melbourne just so he can experience the mini fish burgers and 'Katherine's Fried Chicken' (KFC). Check out this month's Gourmet Traveller, which has a great article on George Colombaris (Masterchef dude) and Shane Delia's latest venture.

Just when you thought I couldn't fit anymore in...we made a quick pit stop to Cupcake Central in Hawthorn for some super-cute baby cupcakes.

As you can imagine, I rolled back on to the plane and have put a bit more effort in to my jogs this week....it was all worth it though, you'll know what I mean once you try that fried chicken.



New Loot

A busy week ended with three big days in Melbourne. It's gift trade fair time, and the walking shoes were on for the the km's of wholesale traders. Pictured below are some of my favourites. If French country chic is your thing - it was absolutely every where, but I think Perfect Pieces were the people doing it well this year.

The fun tea sets from Outliving have stuck in my mind...I love the cake stands.

The girls at Ourlieu have made some lovely paper lanterns.

I can never walk past a budgie. The tapestry on melamine variety is available from Douglas & Hope

Super cute Sydney Ferry on wheels from Make Me Iconic

As always, Tractor Home was filled to the brim with pretty. I love the recycled wire range.

The lovely girls at Poppies for Grace win the prize for a crafty stall.

Melbourne gave me an inspirational weekend, and I must add that the first photo is of the 'Renegade Fair' signage that we discovered down an alley way, after a hint from this cool chick. Now, it's time to sort through my 'I ate here' photos. See you back here soon.

- Briar


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