Thursday, 22 September 2011

Dotty About...Slattery's

The second and last day of my course at Slattery's is now finished (*sniff sniff*) I am going to be so sad tomorrow to not wake up and spend the day playing with cake and icing. :'(

Anyway, today we spent the day learning and practising icing techniques. What fun! We learned so many great things. Now I just have to practice practice practice.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Dotty About...Foraging!

Well folks, it's coming to that time of year when most of natures booty is up for grabs.

This week, I give you ....

The blackberry

(source: Guardian)

The wind-fallen apples

and lavender

(source: Telegraph)

You have yourself some extremely simple to make, extremely yummy to eat, Lavender Jelly, courtesy of Jams & Chutneys by Thane Prince, a great book, particularly for a preserving novice like myself (thank you so much Kate and Sal for lending it to me!).:

  • 1.8kg Cooking Apples (cored and diced - don't bother peeling, but if they are wind-falls then cut any nasties out)
  • A few blackberries (for colour)
  • 2 tbsp lavender flowers (always make sure you use edible lavender - English lavender is fine)

Pop these three items in a pan with 1.7 litres of water and simmer away for 40 mins til the apples are nice and soft

Strain the pulp in a jelly bag and allow to drip for a couple of hours (don't be tempted to squeeze any juice out as it will give you cloudy jelly!)

Measure the resulting juice and weigh out the sugar accordingly:

  • 450g white granulated sugar for each 600ml juice

Put the juice sugar and another tablespoon of lavender flowers back into the preserving pan

Bring slowly to the boil and cook on a full rolling boil for 5 mins

Ensure you skim off any nasty scum that rises to the surface.

Test for a set (I recommend the wrinkle method - pop a plate in the freezer then take a teaspoon of the liquid and put it onto the plate. Leave for a few mins to set, and push it with your finger. If it wrinkles, then it's ready, if it doesn't, then it probably needs a bit longer on the hob).

Once the jelly has reached setting point, pour into hot, sterilized jars, seal and label.

Good for using as sweet and savoury jelly, and particularly excellent on a warm, freshly baked scone!

Dotty About...Slattery's

As my birthday pressie, I have been treated to a Slattery's Advanced Sugarcraft course. It's a two day course covering all the essentials plus some fantastic advanced techniques for making cakes.

Slattery's is the North West's most renowned Pattisier and Chocolatier. They run all sorts of fantastic courses and many train many top confectioners. They are particularly famous for their chocolate skills and their AMAZING chocolate cakes.

First day down and I have put together and covered my cake ready for tomorrow's decorating session, and tomorrow evening tea-party to demolish my beautiful cake! (sorry about the pictures, only had my phone camera and it's, well, it's rubbish!

Assembly of the cake layers
The two layers happily iced
The two tiers neatly stacked (if I do say so myself)
The fun part so far... More to follow tomorrow.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Dotty About...First Dances

I don't know about you but we found one of the hardest things about planning our wedding, not the logistics but the music choices!!

The one thing, in particular for us which was difficult was the first dance choice. I let Andy choose but I really wish that this song had been released (or at least on my radar) for our wedding last year! That's it Andy, we need another wedding!!

(There isn't an "official" Lady Antebellum video I can find, so it's either this one or some other YouTube member's random pictures on a slide show...or really badly videoed live footage!!)

Dotty About...Own Branding

I absolutely LOVE this new (ish) trend of personalising random things at your wedding. Particularly in my line of vision this week are several items on the blog: Style me Pretty

Labelled up jars - which, of course, also make beautiful (and cheap) favours

Escort cards, of course are a great way of repeating your personal branding

Of course one great way of putting across your own branding for people to keep is through your favours:

Sweet bags

Sticks of rock

And last but not least, of course, we couldn't have this blog post without Bunting!

Seeing these made me think of our own random branding at our wedding (nearly a year ago!!)

Our branded tea bag favours (with home made cookies) created by our friend Mark of Artwork Express, Macclesfield.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Dotty About...Cheesecake Cakes

WOW! if you LOVE Cheesecake, then you will LOVE this...

This great creation was made and supplied by the English Cheesecake Company for one of my Bride & Grooms. What a lovely, different cake! It was used as their dessert.