SMS on a Sunday, for once!

My first on time SMS post in weeks. I'm so proud!

I'm going to keep this one short but sweet as I'm so exhausted I could just lay my head upon my laptop and sleep for 1000 years. This weekend, we at Bigface Studio have been shooting a charity calender for Claires Message, a campaign to lower age of cervical screening to 20 in the UK. 15 models, 7 hours, 3 workers. Despite the early rise and hard work it turned out to be one of the most rewarding days I have ever spent. Some of the stories I was exposed to were utterly shocking yet so inspirational! Needless to say, as soon as the day drew to a close I was straight on the phone to my GP arranging my first cervical screening.

For those of you in the North of England, keep an eye out on Monday daytime and evenings ITV news for the full story.

This weeks recipe was chosen by Hanaa of Hanaa's Kitchen and is quite different from most of the other treats we've been baking up over the months. This week, we made caramelized onion, sage and cheddar muffins, that's right, savory muffins! I've never had a savory muffin before so I was quite excited to try these out, even more so after the SMS girls were talking of their spicy kick. I altered the recipe quite a bit just to fit what I had on hand, I added chunks of feta cheese and rather than onions I used caramelized shallots.

The muffins were a roaring success. I didn't have very high hopes and convinced myself they would stick to the muffin try and fall apart when I tried to remove them but each and every one came out perfectly. I haven't tried one yet as I have a pan of basil and tomato soup simmering away in the kitchen that is begging to be paired with these muffins. What a perfect supper for a chilly Autumn day.

Check out the SMS girls for more muffins.

Go nuts for Donuts!

Today was my last day at work. 8 years of my life, 2 milestone birthdays, many ups and many downs, through it all the only stability was working in a music community centre. It was the only thing I ever stuck at, till now. At first I was sad, but remembering I was moving on to bigger and better things I grew excited, butterflies started fluttering and in the end I walked through the doors of The Soundroom with a big smile on my face. You had a huge influence on my growing up and helped sculpt me into the adult I am today. I'll miss you!

My working day drew to an end at 12.30pm and my original plan for the rest of the afternoon was for me to attack my garden fence with pretty coloured Ronseal. Unfortunately, while walking home in the blustery autumn air I soon saw the error of my plans and decided to instead, make doughnuts! I bought the most darling little doughnut tin a few days a go and haven't been able to stop thinking about, looking at or talking about those little sugary treats.

Aren't they cute? I just can't stop looking at them, almost too adorable to eat.....almost.

Baked Doughnuts!

225g plain flour
1tsp vanilla extract
175g caster sugar
1tbsp melted butter
2tsp baking powder
175ml milk
2 large eggs beaten
1/2tsp salt

Preheat oven to 160C and prepare the doughnut pan by brushing a little cooking oil in each hole.

Combine all the ingredients and mix well. Pour mixture into each hole, filling them to around half full. Bake in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes.

Allow to cool, remove from pan and have fun decorating!

Sweet Melissa Mondays, yet again.

Wow, this day late thing is turning into quite the habit! I would have posted these earlier but my Sunday was spent at my mums making Sunday lunch while my boy helped my step dad fix the garage door. But, we fixed, we ate, we made Eton Mess, we slept. And after all, isn't that what Sundays are all about?

So here they are, a day late but shh! I'll be on time next week, I promise. This weeks recipe was chosen by Robin of Lady Craddock's Bakery (I love the name of that blog, don't you?), how she remains as fantastically buff as she does after making all those delicious treats is beyond me. Robin, may I please have your secret, my butt is increasing steadily! Robin chose a treat very dear to my heart, scones, orange scented scones to be precise. Scones are the quintessential English treat and the perfect accompaniment to afternoon tea which, in my humble opinion, should be a part of your everyday daily ritual! Gather together the scones, clotted cream, jam, pair with a beautifully brewed cup of tea and a good book and there you have it, heaven!

I added chocolate chips as orange just doesn't seem right without a smidgen of chocolatey goodness. As per, don't forget to check out the SMS girls for more delightful scones.

My Neighbor Totoro

At the beginning of this month my little brother turned 20! Yep, that means my 'little brother' is no longer a teenager. As I watched him blow out his 20 candles I finally felt my youth slip away, I think this moment hit me harder than the day I woke up on the wrong side of 25. I went straight to the bathroom and started hunting for grey hairs and wrinkles beginning to form around my eyes. My saving grace was a wonderfully rude cashier from ASDA a few days later. I trudged to the checkout, grasping a bottle of Sailor Jerry's Rum between my aging fingers, I handed the bottle to the sour faced woman who placed it on the table next to her and asked in an accusing manner, 'do you have any ID?'. It was like the sun had broken through my little grey cloud. I may well be on the fast track to my 30th but as long as I can be mistaken for an underage drinker I am a happy girl!

(I know, he looks more like a happy kitty than Totoro but he was my favorite!)

To celebrate my brothers transition into his 20's I made him a batch of cupcakes topped with the adorable character Totoro! Totoro is a Studio Ghibli creation from the animated film My Neighbor Totoro and my brother loves him, well, him and anything else from the Japanese culture! I used a basic chocolate chip cupcake topped with peppermint cream cheese frosting and fondant sculpted Totoros. I got the idea from one of my very favorite food blogs A Cat in the Kitchen!


Bah, I was determined to post this week SMS on time, I had it baked, photographed and ready to go. Then, well, life happened. I ended up going out with some of my lovely girls and getting a tinsy bit squiffy. My whole Sunday was written off, I took up refuge on the couch, remote in one hand and takeaway menu in the other. I must be getting old if a hangover takes a day and a half to clear :S Oh to be 21 again.

But, here I am! Yes, a day late but it's better than never. This weeks recipe was the perfect pound cake, personally I've never had, baked or even been in the same room as a pound cake before so I don't really have that much to base my reaction on but boy was it tasty. So dense, so...well perfect! I baked my cake in a bundt as I felt the tins have been neglected slightly, it didn't rise as much as I'd hoped so next time I'll stick with the traditional loaf. Check out Michelle at Veggie Num Nums for the recipe, and of course, to oggle her amazingly adorable kitties!

Now, for something completely different. OK, not completely different as it's still a cake but a vegetable cake! Everyone knows I'm a huge fan of carrot cake, I flippin love the stuff so this months Zucchini Spice Cupcakes from the Martha Stewart Cupcake Club (yes, I have joined ANOTHER baking group) was a definite winner for me. I almost think I'm doing something good when I eat a cake baked with vegetables, I mean, it counts as one of your five a day....right? Right!

I love these cakes, love love love! What a perfect recipe for the start of autumn. Like a hug from your mam in a cuppie liner. Delicious!

Déjà vu?

Yeah yeah, I'm well aware that I posted about my 'first paid order' a few weeks ago. Well, scratch that, pretend you never read it, it never happened...right? Right! I'm choosing to discount that particular order as it was for a very good friend of mine and the only reason I took the money was to pay for the edible glitter she wanted, I love her far too much to gain from her happiness :) Anyway I digress, this here is my first real paid order!

Let me tell you a story, there's one person in Newcastle you go to for wedding, birthday and party cupcakes, and her name is Lottie McPhee! She owns a tearoom in Gosforth, holds several market stands a month and pretty much owns the whole cakey lottery oop north! All said, dear Lottie is going on holiday to foreign lands, lucky for her and lucky for me ;) A client of hers ordered 100 cupcakes for a wedding anniversary but when confirming the order, Mcphee declared she was to be away so couldn't help her. Through some good friends and this here blog, the lovely client came to me with her request. Lets just say I was happy to help :D

I thought it would be a breeze, but boy oh boy is 100 cupcakes a lot! I was on all day, but thankfully I now know ingredient margins for such a huge number. This has really helped me with understanding bulk order requirements and I'll be much more prepared next time. If there ever is a next time.

Martha Stewart was my savior through this, her easy to follow recipes and bulk baking techniques really pulled me through! Thank you Martha! I followed her basic chocolate chip base and added white chocolate chips to 50, raspberries and white chocolate to 25 and strawberry cheesecake to 25.
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