{Create} Road Tested Donna Hay's Macaron Mix and the review is it's Child's Play!

Donna Hay has been my absolute idol since l first started cooking and she seems to have taken me on a wonderful food journey over the past 16 years when l bought my first Marie Claire Cookbook!!  Donna was an inspiration to me then opening up my world to a foodie paradise and l have watched her journey as well from Marie Claire to Donna Hay cookbooks, to the magazine, to the store, to TV presenter and finally gourmet cake mixes!

Donna you continually inspire me to bake and create and so l was delighted when one of my best friends bought me a packet of macaron mix as l am always eager to create the perfect macaron and to have a cheats method would be HEAVEN!!!  I only discovered these delicate biscuit sandwiches a few months ago but l am obsessed with trying to perfect the recipe but some days l just don't have the energy so l was happy to let Audrey give Donna's macaron mix a go!!
Audrey all set to bake her first macarons
added water to egg mix and had to wait... Donna's timer came in handy!
Mixing... Mixing....Mixing...
Audrey thinking what was the next step! Or maybe can l lick the beaters now??
Time to add the almonds
Time to fold the mixture
Time to pipe the macarons but this wasn't required but FUN!!
Proud Cook Miss Audrey making the Chocolate Ganache
We had so much fun making these together and Audrey insisted that she was making them so l was only given a job when she was finding it hard or more like she was getting bored!!!  So what is my verdict on the macaron mix???

At first l was rather skeptical as l thought that they wouldn't rise but they did and they were perfect!!  Of course l had to tweak just a little by adding a little more water to the mix and l wanted them to be coloured so l added some colour paste and a little more chocolate to the ganache but over all l think they are great if you want to make macarons and have them work!!  I did discover that the instruction leaflet did not mention what temperature to heat the oven to but the box did so it was lucky that the box was in the recycling and easy to retrieve!!  I think it would be great if the mix offered instructions for making coloured macarons as an alternative as l normally associate macarons as being a bright coloured taste explosion!

"Mmmmm Chocolate Milk and Macarons! Just Gorgeous Mamma!" was Audrey's response!

So would l use Donna Hay's Macaron Mix again?? Yes, Yes, Yes!!  I think they would make the perfect tea party accompaniment and easy to make but you can fool everyone into thinking you have been in the kitchen for hours!!  I mean if Audrey age 3 can make macarons then l am sure an absolute novice baker can too and for the more experienced baker then they are a great quick alternative when you just don't have the time to let your macarons sit for hours!!  Oh and did l mention they are DELICIOUS!!!

So go get yourself Donna's new gourmet mixes which are available online at her store http://www.donnahay.com.au/shop-online/food or check your local Woolworths store which where my friend bought them!  The brownies are delicious too!!!

Just Call Me Martha!!

It is really quite funny that when l was deciding on my blog name earlier this year that one of the names l wanted was They Call Me Martha as quite a few times my friends call me the regular Martha Stewart including her jail spell!! Hahahaha!!  Well not quite but l have spent a few hours sobering up in a cell when l was a LOT younger!!!  Unfortunately the blog name was taken so now l find it rather funny that in my travels in Party Land l have come across the most talented Leoni from Just Call me Martha!!

Leoni is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING and her creations well quite astonishing!!  And you guessed it she is also another talented Melbourne Mumprenuer and Blogger!!  I am so inspired by such local talent and think that Leoni 's Biscuits are just the most DIVINE thing l have ever seen and l think l would be tempted to frame them and never eat them!!  Just too Gorgeous for words!!  So my meager attempt at owl cookies really do look rather mmmm how should l say it ....amateurish!!!  But what do they say..... Practice makes Perfect!!!

I would love to learn a few tricks of the trade from Leoni and if she ever offered a biscuit decorating course well l would be there in a flash as l just love learning new things and sharing new found skills with others of course to their waistline detriment!! hahaha!

So please go and check out Leoni's AMAZING creations and follow her blog at http://justcallmemarthaa.blogspot.com/2011_02_01_archive.html
and she also has a facebook page https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Just-call-me-Martha/135227659857933?sk=wall

Here are some of her INSPIRING Creations that have got me ooohing and aaahing and thinking ...... how does she do that..... she really must be Martha!!!
Gorgeous Owl Party Cake & Cupcakes! Love the Painted Birds!
Gorgeous Owl Cake!  Details, Details and more Details!!

Close up of cupcakes!  DIVINE!
Lovely embossed cookies
Alannah Rose's Stationary  Inspired Lala Bird Cake
The Cutest Cake Pops l have seen!!  Watch out Bakerella!!
Lovely matching cookies
Back to School Party featured on Bird's Party and Amy Atlas
Love the use of blackboard paint and chalk to offset the green and red
Cute Cupcakes!

Hope you enjoyed looking at some eye candy and remember to like her facebook page and get updates on all of her wonderful and inspiring creations! I LOVE Just Call Me Martha and have added her to my bloglist idols!
Bye for now!!  I am off to the Kitchen to Bake!!

Sticky Date on a Stick Cake Pops and Owl Cookies!! What a Hoot!

Yes l have been back in the kitchen and just begging for my new oven and dishwasher and new kitchen cupboards!!  I am forcing myself not to go outside to the garage where my new kitchen is just waiting for me ... calling me like a siren to look into it's beautiful reflection and then with a sudden jolt of strickening pain l stumble into one of the bench tops with a oh my **** golly goodness me l am struck back to reality with a no you can not use me yet!! ahrgghhh the pain!!!  But seriously a good thing l am staying in the kitchen where it is nice and warm and my creativity can flow!!  Because outside it is FREEZING!!!

  So this week l set myself the challenge of overcoming my fear of cookie decorating and to expand my repertoire from cupcake and cake master to royal icing cookie master!!  (well l am no master but hey everyone needs a bit of a self esteem boost)  Yes l did it!! I have to say l think they are pretty darn good for a first attempt and l just may have found a new love .... the art of the decorated cookie!!  There is something about piping an outline on a biscuit and then adding details and seeing it come to life!!  It is time consuming yes!!  It is wonderfully fulfilling and relaxing yes!!! And the cookies are delicious and seem much more appealing well hell yes!!!  I do have to admit though l did have to have a little help from an Amazing Blogger who provide me with the perfect tutorial to go into my kitchen with my number 2 nozzle and whip up that batch of royal icing with my dough hooks which is the best tip ever and produce cookies which with a bit more practice will be SENSATIONAL!!  So who provided me with such devine inspiration well it was ..... drumroll...... Louise from Cake Journal!!  She is the tutorial QUEEN and l salute thee!!  Here is a link to her wonderful tutorial and her site is just full of useful information that will have you baking like a pro!! http://www.cakejournal.com/archives/how-to-flood-cookies-with-royal-icing

Piped outline and flooded with chocolate royal icing
A masterpiece in progress
So think l can pretty close to the owl but didn't have right shape cookie cutter!!  Oh Well!
  A Great tip was to also use pasteurized egg whites for your royal icing as a precaution to not give anyone salmonella as the egg whites are not cooked.  So l went on the hunt to find some and apparently Farm Pride make a 950g bag of egg whites called Cutting Edge and it is in the freezer section of Coles so now l won't need to think of what to do with all my yolks when l make macarons or Pavlovas or meringues!  Perfect!!

  And in the same day l decided to conquer the cake pop!  Yes l went to my milkbar and bought myself some copha so l could get my chocolate to a candy melt consistency as for the life of me l have not found anyone here locally stocking them and with a bit of help from my facebook friends l figured out that copha and chocolate would do the trick for coating my delicious sticky date balls!  So into the kitchen l went with my left over sticky date pudding from the weekend and my left over butterscotch sauce and yes l got in there with my hands and crumbled my cake and mixed in my sauce and l felt just like a little kid again playing with my food as l felt the mixture ooze through my hands and gosh it felt good!!!  I will make cake pops more often and get the kids in there next time as it is most therapeutic!! They are really simple to make and great for left over cake or cake that has fallen apart when you have taken it out of the tin!  I used to just make mine into a cake tiramisu but now l can fashion my cake into a little ball and insert a stick, dip it in some chocolate and then l have a fancy bite size cake that everyone will enjoy!  Big and little kids!  I am inspired to have a bit more of a play with these and grab a copy of Bakerella's book Cake Pops as she is the queen in this domain!  She did have some cute owl ones that she makes but the hard thing is displaying the pops and so far l don't like the stands they use to sit them upright so l will stay on the look out until l find one or something l like but for now they will sit inside the ceramic egg crates which fit the cake pops perfectly!
Sticky Date on a stick and getting chocolate with butterscotch flavouring ready to coat
My finished pops with chocolate sprinkles but look a bit boring so will pimp them for the party
  Well l am going back to the kitchen to bake me a chocolate butterscotch tart and chocolate mousse quenelles  ..... is your mouth watering yet???

Alex's party will be a Hoot!!

I am so excited to be helping a wonderful long time friend who just happened to be my boss many moons ago plan her gorgeous little girl's first birthday!!  They are currently living in China and are coming back to Oz especially for her birthday which of course made me jump for joy as it has seems like years since we saw each other but it is only 6 months since they have been gone!  I can't wait to see them and celebrate Alex turning 1!!  I am having lots of fun sourcing cute things for the party and of course l put my hand up to help as you know l just love to plan a party!!  I am loving my new printer and are amazed at what a professional job it does and l am itching to buy some party printables to test it's skills and mine!! hahaha!!  I also can't wait to make some cookies and cake pops which l will need to practice over the coming weeks but l have found the most gorgeous little containers to put my pops in so l am just a bit excited!!  I came across Sweet little Birdy on Facebook and l have to say her shop is just beautiful with so many wonderful things to help create a beautiful party so check out her site!!  http://www.sweetlittlebirdy.com.au/

Sweet Little Birdy sell these for $19.95 and they are just too cute!

And these little squeakers are just darling for only $20

Alex's party is going to be a hoot with an owl theme setting the mood and l can't wait to see it all take shape as Flick has some brilliant ideas and l am so happy that she has included me to assist with Alex's big day!!  So yesterday l got to planning and bought an owl cookie cutter and l might even make some owl fondant toppers for cupcakes but l will see how l go and what needs to be made??

Created by Trisha from Stampin' and Craftin' and hoping mine are just as cute!!
Whilst l was shopping on Riches n Realms http://www.richesnrealms.com.au/shop/index.php?cPath=235&osCsid=bbaaa84df65632a6432cb5ae4dd6fca4  which has an amazing range of cookie cutters and cake decorating supplies as well as party goods at really good prices l thought l would also buy some things for Kaitlyn's up coming Alice in Wonderland Party!!  So l bought a teapot cutter and teacup cutter and some very gorgeous antique key chocolate moulds and l have some brilliant ideas on what to do with these but l will keep you anticipating until the party!!  For now l am concentrating on cute little owl cookies and cake pops and whoooo knows l might even get to making that macaroon tower!!  I have the new Donna Hay Macaroon mix which l can't wait to test and see if it is up to scratch and as easy as it sounds??

I will be doing some test runs in my un-renovated kitchen in the coming weeks and will post some pics of my attempts ... the good and the bad .... after all l am only human with 3 kids, a husband, two fish and a dog and it is school holidays and we have a kitchen in our garage waiting to be installed!!!!  God please give me strength to have patience!!