Thursday, December 22, 2011

Season's Greetings…

 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Edible Place Settings



Why not make these edible place settings for Christmas lunch or dinner? These ones are so easy to make and your guests will love them!
 
Equipment
You'll need 5.5cm, 7cm and 9cm star-shaped cookie cutters
 
Ingredients (makes 6)
1 quantity Basic biscuit dough ingredients (see related recipes)
200g white chocolate, melted
1/3 cup icing sugar
1 to 2 teaspoons water
icing sugar, to serve
 
Method
1. Follow steps 1 to 3 of Basic biscuit recipe. Cut out 18 x 9cm stars, 18 x 7cm stars and 18 x 5.5cm stars from dough. Place onto prepared trays. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or until firm. Bake for 15 minutes or until light golden. Stand on trays for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
2. Place a 9cm star onto a flat surface. Spoon a little melted chocolate onto centre of star. Top with a second 9cm star, turning top star slightly so it is at an angle to first star. Repeat with a third 9cm star. Repeat with 3 x 7cm stars then with 3 x 5.5cm stars.
3. Combine icing sugar and enough water to make a thick paste. Drop a spoonful onto top of each tree. Use to hold place setting cards in position. Allow to set completely. Before placing onto table, dust with icing sugar.
 
Notes
These trees can be made up to a week in advance. Store in a large airtight container in a cool place. Dust with icing sugar just before placing onto table. They make a great gift idea. After dinner wrap them in clear cellophane and give to your guests to take home. 

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Beeswax Bauble Candle From Husk

 
We love this gorgeous Beeswax Bauble Candle from Husk. Hand poured and made from beeswax, this candle is the perfect Christmas gift! Comes in a recycled Australian gift box and burns fro approximately 40hrs.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

T2 Stacks of Colour

 
Fruity and festive, celebrate with some seriously sweet teas this Christmas with the T2 Stacks of Colour. Packed with the perfect mix of Strawberries & Cream, Turkish Apple, Citrus Punch and Vanilla Slice, this stack is a must for a chilled summer tea party! 

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Fruit Mince Pies



Everyone's faces will light up when they see these fruit mince pies this Christmas.
 
Ingredients (makes 24)
410g jar fruit mince
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 small granny smith apple, peeled, grated
1/4 cup raspberry jam
2 teaspoons MasterFoods vanillin sugar
185g butter, chilled, chopped
1/3 cup icing sugar mixture
2 teaspoons finely grated orange rind
2 1/4 cups plain flour
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons iced water
icing sugar mixture, to dust
 
Method
1. Combine fruit mince, cranberries, apple, jam and vanillin sugar in a bowl. Set aside.
2. Process butter, icing sugar, orange rind and flour until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add yolk and 1 tablespoon iced water. Process until dough forms, adding more iced water if necessary. Divide dough in half. Shape halves into discs. Cover. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Grease two 12-hole 1 1/2 tablespoon-capacity round-based patty pans. Roll 1 pastry disc between 2 sheets of baking paper until 3mm thick. Using a 7cm round cutter, cut 24 rounds from dough, re-rolling dough scraps. Press rounds into holes of prepared pans. Using a fork, prick pastry cases.
4. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until light golden. Cool in pans. Roll remaining pastry disc between 2 sheets of baking paper until 3mm thick. Using a 4.5cm star-shaped cutter, cut 24 stars from dough, re-rolling dough scraps. Spoon fruit mince mixture into pastry cases, pressing down with back of spoon. Top with stars, pressing edges to seal.
5. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden. Stand in pans for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Dust with sugar. Serve. 

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gordon Ramsay Maze by Royal Doulton


 
Chef Gordon Ramsay has always been passionate about cooking and his no-nonsense approach in the kitchen is legendary. The award-winning chef knows creating amazing food demands the very best culinary tools an when teamed with Royal Doulton, the result is MAZE – a complete tableware, glassware, cookware and chef's knives collection bringing restaurant style excellence to home cooking and dining.

Inspired by Gordon's celebrates MAZE restaurants, the tableware range is offered in a fresh colour palette of white, soft blue and now the new taupe colour, providing you with the freedom to mix and match your tableware to ensure the collection is uniquely yours.

Available now at selected David Jones and premium retailers.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Gift Tags



These gorgeous gift tags from kikki.K are the perfect addition to your Christmas gifts this year. Add them to each gift with a personal message that your friends and family can treasure or even hang on the tree.

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Home Office


With the holidays fast approaching why not update your home office with elegant furniture and accessories from Laura Ashley. Start the new working year in style! The collection features desks, chairs, shelving, lighting, desk accessories and much more.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Donna Hay's Simple Dinners Kit



Donna Hay's latest book, simple dinners, is for anyone who has looked in their pantry or fridge and felt uninspired by what to cook for dinner. In her signature simple style, Donna shows you how to make the most of pantry ingredients to create sumptuous and easy dinners. This hamper is ideal for those who need a little weeknight magic. RRP $89.95

Includes:
simple dinners
pot holder
set of donna hay blue tea towels
silicone spoonula
silicone spoon
donna hay shopping list pad
general store gift box 

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Friday, December 2, 2011

Satay chicken rice paper rolls

 
 

If you hosting a dinner party this weekend you can forget the party pies. These fabulous chicken rice paper rolls will delight even the fussiest of guests.  

Ingredients (makes 20)
1 drinking coconut (see note)
700g chicken breasts
1 stalk lemongrass, chopped
20 x 22cm rice paper wrappers (see note)
1/2 small iceberg lettuce, thinly shredded
1 cup Thai basil leaves
1/2 cup coriander leaves
Lime wedges, to serve  

Satay sauce
1 tbs vegetable oil
1 eschalot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 red bird's-eye chilli, seeded, finely chopped
1/2 tsp each ground cumin, coriander and turmeric
250ml (1 cup) chicken stock
80ml (1/3 cup) coconut milk
2 tbs hoisin sauce
1 1/2 tbs fish sauce
140g (1 cup) roasted unsalted peanuts
1 tbs grated palm sugar
1 lime, juiced
  
Method
1. To cook chicken, place coconut on a work surface. Using the heel of a cleaver, make a 5cm hole in top. Pour coconut water into a small frying pan. Crack coconut open. Scoop out flesh, finely chop, then reserve. Add chicken and lemongrass to pan with enough tap water to just cover. Bring to a simmer over high heat, reduce heat to low, then cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Set aside for 10 minutes (the residual heat of the water will finish cooking chicken).
2. Meanwhile, to make sauce, heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add eschalot, garlic and chilli, and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until soft. Add spices and stir for 1 minute or until fragrant. Stir in stock, coconut milk and hoisin and fish sauces, then bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes or until slightly reduced.
3. Process peanuts and palm sugar in a food processor until finely ground. Add to coconut milk mixture. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for a further 5 minutes or until sauce is thick. Stir in lime juice. Cool. Makes 1 1/4 cups.
4. Remove chicken from cooking liquid and cool. Finely shred chicken into a bowl. Add reserved coconut flesh.
5. Fill a large bowl with warm water. Dip a rice paper wrapper in water for 20 seconds or until just softened, then place on a sheet of baking paper. Fold left side in by 5cm, then place some lettuce lengthwise on wrapper, 3cm up from the bottom. Top with a little chicken mixture and sauce, then a basil and coriander leaf. Fold bottom of wrapper up over filling, then roll up tightly, folding in right side as you go, to form a roll with one open end. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling ingredients. Tuck a few extra herbs into the top of each roll.
6. Serve rolls with lime wedges and remaining satay sauce.

Notes 
Drinking coconut, also known as young coconut, is sold with the green outer shell removed. Available, along with rice paper wrappers, from supermarkets.

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas With The Wall Sticker Company


The Wall Sticker Company have some great Christmas wall stickers to add to your Christmas decorations and they can all be stored and used next year too!


These gorgeous baubles look stunning on a wall and add instant Christmas cheer. Hang the baubles across a wall all at different heights.


This beautiful heat and dove designed by Fi Fy Fo Fum, is great to spread some Christmas love in any room. PLace above a fire place or on a large wall for greater effect.
  

Kids will love these adorable Christmas decals. Featuring Santa, snowman, presents, candy canes, Christmas tress and so much more, it will remind your little ones that Santa will be coming soon. Pop them on a wall behind the Christmas Tree, or decorate the dining room for Christmas.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Rocky Road Brownie Slice

 

Stuck for Christmas gift ideas? Friends and family will love this deliciously good rocky road brownie slice!

Ingredients (makes 15)
Melted butter, to grease 
1/2 cup plain flour 
1/4 cup cocoa powder 
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
125g butter, melted
150g pink and white marshmallows, halved
50g slivered almonds
100g salted pistachio kernels
50g banana lollies, coarsely chopped 
3/4 cup Kellogg’s Coco Pops
100g glacé cherries, halved 
1/3 cup shredded coconut
200g milk chocolate, melted
100g 70% cocoa dark chocolate, melted

Method
1. Preheat oven to 180ºC. Brush a 20 x 30cm slab pan with melted butter. Line the base and 2 long sides with non-stick baking paper, allowing the sides to overhang.
2. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl. Stir in the sugar. Make a well in the centre. Add eggs and butter. Stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Set aside in the pan to cool completely.
3. Combine the marshmallow, almonds, pistachios, banana lollies, Coco Pops, cherry and coconut in a bowl. Add the combined chocolate and stir to combine. Spoon mixture over the cake. Tap pan on the bench to settle the mixture. Set aside to set completely. Cut into squares to serve. 

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Limoges Breakfast Cup & Saucer Sets


Every piece of Limoges Porcelain is painted and decorated by hand by French artists before it finds its way to your table. So beautiful, so delicate and captivating, you’ll always treasure your Limoges porcelain. These stunning cup and saucer sets come in a variety of soft, pastel colours and are the perfect addition to your dinnerware!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Ecoya's Fragranced Soap

 
Ecoya's fragranced soap comes in a beautiful rigid box and makes a perfect gift. This delicately fragranced botancal soap contains a firm blend of natural oils, to cleanse, moisturise and fragrance.The soap comes in 6 different fragrances including French pear, lotus flower, lemongrass and ginger, sweet pea and jasmine, vanilla bean and wild frangipani.

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Gift Wrapping Ideas


Homelife has put together a great range of gift wrapping ideas for this festive season. Make your gifts look just as good on the outside as on the inside…
Classic red and white.


Silver and gold gift wrapping is the classic and luxurious option.

Print your own patterns with stamps on brown paper bags - perfect for edible gifts.


Use eclectic wrapping options - sheet music or handkerchiefs.


Choose decorations made from patterned fabrics such as gingham, polka dots and stripes in a red and white palette.

Visit Homelife for more gift wrapping ideas.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Cook Up A Storm With AURA



Cook up a storm this summer in a stylish new apron from AURA. Available in new designs and colours you are sure to impress you are sure to look the part in the kitchen!

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sydney Foodies Get Ready…



The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide for 2012 has arrived and it is packed with all the best places to eat! From the three-hatted Bilson's, Marque and Sepia to the great local cafes and hidden gems, this book has everything you need to know if you love good food.

The guide features fantastic reviews on restaurants, bars and cafes, authentic foreign food joints and sections detailing the best places for all of the top foodie trends for 2012 - street food, pubs, noodles, chocolate, eco-friendly joints and more. And if you’re heading out of town, there are also listings for the Blue Mountains, Hunter Valley, Canberra and Snow Regions, and regional areas all across New South Wales.

Browse your way through the comprehensive index, check out the maps at the back to see featured spots in your area. Whichever way you look at it, the Good Food Guide offers you pages and pages of fantastic restaurants (over 900 reviews to be precise - the largest edition ever!) and a roadmap to deliciousness! We think it would make the perfect Christmas gift to the foodie in your family.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Take Note



A beautiful diary is a must have for the year ahead so get your hands on this 2012 diary by Jonathan Saunders. With it's gold-trimmed pages and perforated corners to keep track of your calendar, this camel and red leather week-to-view piece is a super stylish way to stay organised. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Christmas Gift Ideas…


Make these beautiful treats as Christmas food gifts for friends and family, or give into temptation and keep them for yourself!
 

Rum balls make wonderful food gifts. They are super easy to make and this chocolate fruitcake rum balls recipe is particularly great as it uses all that Christmas fruit cake.   

Ingredients (makes 55)
800g dark fruitcake
1/3 cup (80ml) dark rum
3 x 180g blocks good-quality dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup chocolate sprinkles
2 cups desiccated coconut
2 cups crushed Digestive biscuits
 
Method
1. Line 2 large trays with baking paper. Crumble fruitcake into a large bowl. Drizzle with rum. Mix.
2. Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium-high (75%) for 1 minute 30 seconds to 2 minutes, stirring with metal spoon every 30 seconds, or until smooth. Add melted chocolate to fruitcake mixture. Mix well to combine.
3. Working quickly, roll 1 level tablespoon of fruitcake mixture into a ball. Toss in sprinkles, coconut or biscuits (see note). Place on prepared tray. Repeat with remaining fruitcake mixture and sprinkles.
4. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Serve.


  

Buttery, lightly golden and impossibly moreish, this traditional shortbread will delight loved ones at Christmas time.
 
Ingredients (makes 2)
250g butter, softened
3/4 cup (155g) caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (300g) plain flour, sifted
1/2 cup (90g) rice flour, sifted
 
Method
1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease 2 oven trays. Line with baking paper. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, 2/3 cup sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Stir in sifted flours.
2. Divide dough into 2 portions. Shape into 2 discs. Roll 1 portion between 2 sheets of baking paper to form a 20cm round. Carefully transfer to prepared tray. Repeat with remaining dough.
3. Using a small knife, score each round into 8 wedges, being careful not to cut all the way through. Pinch edges of rounds to form a scalloped effect. Prick top of rounds with a fork. Sprinkle with remaining sugar.
4. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden, swapping the trays halfway through cooking. Cool on the trays and then serve.

 

Deliver festive gifts of joy to your loved ones – like these white white christmas tartlets. 

Ingredients (makes 20)
250g pkt Arnott’s Butternut
Snap Cookies
200g white chocolate, chopped
15g (1/3 cup) Rice Bubbles
25g (1/3 cup) shredded coconut
1/3 cup mini pink and white marshmallows, halved
 
Method
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Place 1 biscuit over each hole of a 12-hole, 1 1/2-tablespoon capacity shallow patty pan. Bake for 2-3 minutes or until soft. Use a lime or a small ladle to carefully press softened biscuits into pan to mould into a cup shape. Set aside to cool. Transfer to a serving plate. Repeat with remaining biscuits.
2. Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Cook for 2 minutes on Medium/500watts/50%, stirring every 30 seconds, or until chocolate melts and is smooth.
3. Add the Rice Bubbles, coconut and marshmallow and stir to combine. Divide the mixture among biscuit cases. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes or until set.

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Table Decorating Ideas


Are you entertaining at your house this weekend? Well Home Life have given us some handy table decorating ideas. With a few clever accessories and a little creativity, you can create a whole range of strikingly different settings to suit almost any style of entertaining.


Use a length of lustrous wallpaper as a table runner for a sleek, modern feel.
.

Match a bunch of plump grapes with a simple blue jug; use sheets of blue-lined graph paper as placemats and add a finishing touch with matching napkins.


Rather than traditional flowers, pile fruit high in classic vases. Choose accessories in one bold colour for best effect. Modern stainless-steel cutlery and napkin rings finish the look.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

New donna hay for Royal Doulton



We loved donna hay's first collection with Royal Doulton, now she has launched her second collection. Featuring timeless pieces for everyday style, including beautiful bone china tableware and teaware, plus practical kitchen essentials all available from David Jones, the donna hay general store and selected premium independent retailers.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Summer Collection by Linen House


Linen House have just released their Summer 2011/2012 collection and its got everything you need to update your bedroom and add a splash of colour! 


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Edible Flowers



Here is a list of some edible flowers that will add colour and taste to your summer...
  
Lavender: Use culinary lavender (English is best). Shred the flower. Put some ice-cream in a cone or bowl, sprinkle with a few lavender flowers and a drizzle of honey or use some when baking cakes.

Marigold: Comes in a range of sunny colours and will brighten up any meal. The taste can be a bit spicy for young children, so introduce them sparingly. The petals can be used in salads or sprinkled over soup and rice and pasta dishes.

Nasturtium: These flowers are crammed with vitamin C. They can be eaten whole, used in salads or as a garnish. They have a delicious sweet and slightly spicy flavour.

Rosemary: Its flowers can be used in casseroles or as a garnish over meat. You can also create barbecue skewers by cutting 15cm-long stems and stripping the foliage. Soak in water and then use to make kebabs.

Rose: Interestingly, the flavour of the petals alters (just like the perfume) depending on the type and colour of the flower. They are delicious used in jellies and syrups.

Sage: The bright red flowers of the fragrant pineapple sage are delicious sprinkled over fresh pineapple and ice-cream.

Violas and Pansies: With your child, collect a dozen or so flowers. Pop them into an ice-cube tray and fill with water. Freeze. Your child will love them with their favourite drink.

Zucchini: Stuffed with cheese and herbs, then deep-fried, these flowers are a great delicacy in Italian cuisine.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Melon & Strawberry Lassi



Make this quick, easy and delicious smoothy to kick start your Monday morning. 

Ingredients (serves 2)
1/4 small pineapple, peeled, chopped
1/8 small rockmelon, peeled, chopped
125g strawberries, hulled
1/4 cup low-fat yoghurt
1/2 cup Golden Circle Unsweetened Pineapple Juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 cups ice cubes
mint sprigs, to serve
 
Method
1. Combine fruit in a blender. Blend until smooth.
2. Add yoghurt, pineapple juice, cardamom and ice. Blend until creamy and smooth. Pour into glasses. Garnish with mint sprigs and serve.

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Sarah's Gadren… New From Wedgwood


Named after and inspired by the wife of Wedgwood founder Josiah Wedgwood, Sarah's Garden echoes the colours and flavours of the traditional English garden.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cottage-Style Bedrooms


Better Homes & Gardens have some great tips on how to achieve a cozy cottage style bedroom retreat! You can mix calming pastels, pretty florals, and vintage accessories.


Add depth to a classic white-and-cream cottage palette by playing with texture. An old rug remnant repurposed as artwork provides a rich backdrop for a white-painted bed frame, crisp white sheets and a mix of toile and damask pillows. The simple matte finish on a painted side table takes on an elegant patina when topped with an ornate iron candelabra crowned with petite silk shades.


Adorn the windows and headboard with soft taupe and cream toile fabric. Add an iron chandelier painted the same mocha color as the walls and a carved wooden mirror finished with off-white paint to match the romance of the fabric.


Salvaged finds, such as a dressmaker's mannequin and a cake stand-turned-jewelry display, come to life against the backdrop of crisp white walls and bedding. A distressed blue chest delivers storage and an attractive display space. An old wire shoe rack accessorised with dried bouquets of flowers works in conjunction with shutters to turn the windows in character-rich focal points.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Leek, Bacon, Brie & Mustard Quiche



Having friends round? This quiche, a green salad and a glass of wine will make it a relaxed and delicious affair!
 
Ingredients (serves 6)
1 quantity shortcrust pastry
Plain flour, to dust
40g butter
1 leek, pale section only, washed, dried, thinly sliced
4 bacon rashers, excess fat trimmed, finely chopped
2 tbs wholegrain mustard
150g brie, thinly sliced
3 eggs, lightly whisked
80ml (1/3 cup) thickened cream
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
 
Method
1. Make pastry following the recipe above to the end of step 4. Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface to a 15 x 40cm rectangle, about 3mm thick. Line a shallow 10 x 34cm (base measurement) fluted tart tin, with removable base, with pastry and trim any excess. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.
2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200°C. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat until foaming. Add the leek and bacon and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until leek softens. Remove from heat.
3. Cover pastry base with baking paper and fill with pastry weights, rice or dried beans. Bake in oven for 10 minutes. Remove paper and weights, rice or beans. Bake for a further 8 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and reduce oven temperature to 160°C.
4. Spread mustard over pastry base. Top with the leek mixture and brie slices. Whisk the eggs and cream together in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture into the pastry case.
5. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes or until just set. Serve warm. 

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Bathroom Accessories from Rockett St George

 

Beautiful bathroom accessories are hard to find and these bone accessories from Rockett St George are just beautiful! The whole collection includes four pieces – soap dispenser, soap dish, cotton pad dish and beaker. Featuring such neutral colours, these bone accessories will compliment any style of bathroom!