Home Baked Pain au Chocolat


Last week, my husband, roomie and myself were watching night time TV when a craving for something sweet and chocolatey hit us. We didn’t have anything in the house, as I tend not to keep such vices around in full knowledge that I would eat it all… However, I always keep puff pastry in the freezer and I know we had nutella. So, asked the boys if a modified chocolate croissant would satisfy the craving. Our roomie was shocked, and asked how would I make a croissant? So I offered to show him. Here’s a quick step-by-step… so quick and easy to make!!

Ingredients:
Frozen puff pastry (thawed)
Nutella
1 Egg

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Step 1: Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C.
Thaw sheets of puff pastry (note; you will get 4 croissants from 1 sheet) and cut into 4 equal squares.

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Step 2: Place 1 tablespoon (or whatever you desire) of Nutella into the centre of each square.

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Step 3: With a small amount of water, wet the edges of the pastry (this will make it sticky) and fold it over. You can make what ever shape you like (as shown in the picture below). Be sure to press the folded pastry down firmly (I use the back of a teaspoon) to ensure it is sealed. If you leave gaps, or it is not firmly sealed, the pastry will open during the baking process and the nutella will ooze out.

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Step 4: Whisk the egg (yolk and whites) and lightly brush over the pastry.
Place in oven and bake until pastry is golden brown (usually about 25-30minutes).

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Serve straight from the oven… Delicious!

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Restoring casement windows


House Renovation Continuation…

Matt and I decided to change the current windows (which are aluminium, sliding frames) and keep with the Queenslander look of the home. We started looking for casement windows and ended up purchasing a few different styles, ranging in price from $2 to $50 each. We ended up purchasing around 10-15, all requiring some serious TLC! We thought to put these windows in the second bathroom, main bedroom, garage and potentially in the current bedrooms. But honestly, we have I think, 4 different styles of windows, so it’s a matter of figuring out how many we can restore and reuse, to determine where we actually end up putting them. So here’s hoping it works out!

Now, as usual… We have fabulous ideas and no idea how to actually make it happen, so I YouTube some videos on how to restore casement windows. I’ve compiled a few videos I thought were the most helpful in terms of order of restoration, tools required, and how to reassemble. Hopefully you find these helpful with your project!

This YouTube video by ‘Garden Fork’ shows how to remove the old putty and refill.

This video by ‘Marc Bagala’ shows a full restoration from start to finish, however, there’s no talking so you really need to watch what he does. I thought this video was helpful in terms of showing me what needed to be done.

Now, this PDF is a couple of pages but lists the general tools you need to complete this project and a step-by-step written tutorial. Handy for those who can’t access YouTube or want to take some information away with them when they shop for the tools needed, et cetra.

http://www.familyhandyman.com/windows/repair/how-to-glaze-a-window-single-pane

My attempts at window restoration!

Now, before I watched all these YouTube tutorials, I thought, how hard could this really be. Matt and I knew what roughly needed to be done, so we went out and bought a heat-gun (how ironic that my first ‘power tool’ should turn out to be an industrial hair-dryer! lol). I got my work area setup and started to strip the paint. It was all going well until I had to strip the fiddly bits around the glass. Unsurprisingly, I ended up cracking 2 window panes. So… Matt and I re-evaluated our method and I jumped on YouTube.

Here’s my second attempt. 10-August-2013. I removed all the old putty and took the glass panes out. I only cracked 1 piece of glass and that was due to the putty being extreme resilient and I ended up putting too much pressure on the glass in my attempts to remove the putty. Needless to say… I was very proud of my efforts.

I then used the heat gun and started to strip the paint. Much easier when you’re not worrying about glass. And I used an orbitol sander to start finishing the prep. I still have to use a fine sand paper on the frame and hand sand the detailing around the glass panes. But… I’m getting there, that’s the most important thing!

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I’ll keep you posted with my progress and take pictures as I go… So looking forward to the finished product! It might take me a few months though…

Blueberry Muffins


I was cleaning the house last weekend and had a sudden desire to fill the rooms with the smell of freshly baked muffins! Who doesn’t love the smell of fresh baked goods?!  I had some frozen blueberries and threw together a quick batch of blueberry muffins. It didn’t take long for the boys to come in the house from working in the shed, and ask how long they would be. A great treat!

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Recipe by Donna Hay
(makes 12)

Ingredients

2½ cups (375g) self-raising flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
½ cup (125ml) vegetable oil
1 egg
½ cup (125ml) milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
300g fresh or frozen blueberries

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Method
1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
2. Place the flour, baking powder and sugar in a bowl. Place the oil, egg, milk and vanilla in a separate bowl and whisk to combine.
3. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add the blueberries and mix to combine.
4. Spoon mixture into a 12-hole ½-cup capacity (125ml) muffin tin lined with paper patty cases. Add extra blueberries to decorate the top and bake for 30–35 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Remove from tin and cool on a wire rack.

Tell me… what’s the secret to your blueberry muffins? Lemon Zest? Sugar on top?

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Cake Decorating Basics #14


Cupcake Frosting Techniques

I came across these 2 cute blogs by ‘Glorious Treats‘ and ‘Niner Bakes‘. They have a page all about frosting techniques and a few different frosting recipes you could try! I’ve added their photos to show you what each tip can create.

Link to Niner Bakes

Here’s the link to Glorious Treats (these are her pictures below)

Cupcakes wtih tips

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Proposed Floor Plans


These are our NOW APPROVED BY COUNCIL renovation plans. So exciting! One step closer to being able to start the project. We’ve been restless waiting for this day to come… just need to get some final documents together and off to the bank to bank roll this project! Fingerscrossed… we’re both so keen to have this finished. Thank you to Joanna Lee at Icon Building Certification and John Bergman Design & Drafting for getting us this far!

What do you think? What’s important to you when designing a house?

Proposed Lower Level

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Proposed Upper Level

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Proposed Roof (solar panel friendly!)

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The following were the proposed Roof Elevations for our renovated house. Matt emailed these to me and asked me which roof I preferred. I remember looking at the plans and thinking ‘these all look the same to me’, so responded to him with a ‘I don’t mind, you choose!’ He chose Design B, but then Matt had the solar panel company take a look and the roof would not accommodate the number of solar panels Matt wanted. So it was back to the drawing board!

Original Design

ELEVATIONS AT THE MOMENT

Design A

ELEVATION A

Design B

ELEVATION B

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Cake Decorating Basics #10


Cupcake Frosting Technique using Wilton Tip #67

This is such a cute frosting technique! The tip is actually a leaf decorating tip, so I would never have thought to use it in this fashion. It’s so simple, yet so effective! Thank you ‘strawberrychicblog’ for sharing this!

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What do you think of this technique? Any other suggestions?

Cake Decorating Basics #9


Cupcake Frosting Techniques

These YouTube video’s by ‘CupcakeCentralAU’ show you several techniques on how to decorate cupcakes with butter cream frosting. These are fantastic techniques if you’re a beginner or just want new ideas. Enjoy! x

The first video demonstrates the Wilton 1M Open Star and Petal Tip 127.

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The second video demonstrates the Wilton 11 plain round tip, a french tip and a plain star tip. These come in different sizes as per the picture below.

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What do you think of these technique? Any other suggestions?