Wednesday, 28 March 2012

The story I heard

When I was younger my family always called me Jojo. It started with my younger brothers and then went on from there. Actually the whole time I lived in Sydney I was mostly called Jo. It wasn't until I moved to Melbourne that I lost that name and have since only ever really been called Jody. Well I guess I haven't lost it completely my brothers still call me Jojo or Jo and even MrS does too. But mostly I just get Jody, no shortening or nicknames. It's kinda strange. How names work, how they change throughout our lives and signify or define different stages or ages. I mean my surname has changed three times, but that's a whole other story.

A few weeks ago we were all out in our garden lazing around and listening to music whilst the little ones played. MrS put this Blind Pilot album on, I have heard it before but not listened properly. Out of no where MrS said this song reminded him so much of me, it was so sweet, my heart swelled, my husband listened to music and he thought of me. I listened to the words 'Hey you Jojo, yeah I know your name.' sounded innocent, I hummed along and soon fell in love with the song myself. 

Since then I have listened to their album quiet a few times, it's on high rotation in here. So today I thought I'd google the lyrics... Turns out Jojo is a guy 'they might try to keep you from the man you have been'. 

Thanks Honey. 

Still an awesome song. You can check out some more of their stuff here. 
I especially love '3 rounds and a sound'. 

Do you have a nickname? Or did you have one when you were growing up? Did it stick? Or do you have a song that reminds you of someone you love, that doesn't mean what you thought it did?


I'm joining Maxabella over at Kidspot for 52 weeks of grateful.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

How to: Pink ombre layer cake

For Lyla's birthday this year I decided to make a pink layer cake. It was epic. One of the biggest cakes I had made. I trawled the internet for recipes and inspiration, but didn't really find anything I loved. I ended up using a cake recipe from Sweetapolitia and icing from My baking addiction. It took me some time to get my head around it {oh the butter!} and convert the recipes. But once I did it was easy. I was really impressed with how it turned out and surprised by actually how relatively simple it was to make. So I thought I share it with you.

For the cake
341g unsalted butter at room temperature
540g caster sugar
9 egg whites at room temperature
630g plain flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups of milk or buttermilk
1 vanilla bean
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pink food colouring

Preheat oven to 175 degrees. Butter and line a 20cm cake pans or five if you have them, I didn't.

In an electric mixer beat butter and sugar on med/high speed. For 3-5mins until pale and fluffy. Lower speed and add egg whites gradually, mixing until fully incorporated.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Mix both vanillas in to milk. Add to butter mixture a little at a time, alternating between flour and milk mixtures. Mix gently until just incorporated. Do not over mix.

Weight whole batter by pouring into a clean bowl on digital kitchen scales. Divide total by amount of layers you need, original recipes is for three but I wanted slightly thinner layers so went for five.

Pour accurate amount into five individual bowls. To colour, add a little food colouring to each bowl, increasing in amount as you go. I basically used 1 drop in the first layer, then 2 in the second and so on. You want it to be a subtle increase from light to dark

Once you are happy with your colours pour cake mix into prepared tin/tins, smooth top and bake in preheated oven for 15-20 mins.

Cake is cooked when an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 mins then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Repeat until or layers are cooked and cooled.

If you are making this cake ahead of time like I did, wrap cooled cakes in double layers of cling film and freeze until the night before you need them.

For the icing
{Note: This was not quiet enough icing for my cake so I doubled the recipe below, which made a huge amount of icing that I used for my cupcakes also. I suggest making one batch first then another if needed.}

1/2 cup of raspberries {blended to a purée then pushed through a fine sieve to remove seeds}
165g unsalted butter at room temperature
110g salted butter at room temperature
1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract
680g icing sugar
2-4 tablespoons very cold milk

Cream butter in an electric mixer. Add vanilla extract and raspberry purée and combine well.
Add sugar a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. After all sugar has been added and mixed thoroughly begin adding cold milk a tablespoon at a time, mixing well on high speed, add until you reach desired consistency.

Remove cakes from freezer. Place bottom layer of cake top side up on cake stand or plate. Spread about 1/2 a cup or so of icing over cake, smooth using a knife. Repeat with all layers. Finish with last cake top side up.
Then spread a thin layer of icing over entire cake to crumb coat. Scrap any excess off using a knife for a smooth finish. Refrigerate cake at this point for at least 30 mins.
Use remaining icing to cover cake and decorate to your liking. Fruit, sprinkles, whatever takes your fancy!

You can serve cake at this point or refrigerate overnight or until needed. Remove from fridge at least an hour or two before serving to come back to room temperature.



Monday, 26 March 2012

{the weekend} the birthday one

As you know Lyla and I celebrated our birthdays over the weekend. My parents made the trip from Sydney to join us and most importantly babysit! MrS and I headed out Friday night with my brother to see our friends bands play {Too Soon! and The Lost Day} It was a great night, surrounded by loads of great people. The bands were awesome, a little heavy for my everyday music taste, but so fun to see live. It brought me right back to my younger days. Child-free and in the mood for celebrating, I really let my hair down, maybe even a little too much so. I really suffered the next day, worst hangover ever. And I had to work too. It wasn't pretty. Lots of sleep and some yummy fish and chips helped, thanks MrS you're the best.   

Sunday we took the little ones and the grandparents to the pool for a swim and some fun. We then spent the afternoon with our closest friends to continue the birthday celebrations with more drinks and cake. We had a great time, Lyla loved it and my Mum made a pretty awesome sponge cake for us.

It really was a wonderful birthday weekend. So fun and exhausting. I'm still recovering.

Thank you so much to everyone who sent Lyla and I birthday wishes.

I hope you had a good weekend too!


Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Lyla turns two {the party}

On Tuesday morning I had a little party to celebrate Lyla's second birthday! {Even though her actual birthday isn't until Saturday} I didn't get a chance to take many photos once all our lovely friends arrived, as Lyla reverted into a little koala baby, seems the poor little thing was a tad overwhelmed by it all, which is understandable.
We all still had a really fun time, I am really pleased with how everything turned out, that all my efforts paid off and was pretty chuffed that my cake actually turned out! Lyla felt more comfortable towards the end {thanks to peppa pig - my arm was killing me from lugging her around all morning!} And she was back to her normal chirpy self. She loved opening all her gorgeous presents and was very spoilt!

We've got more celebrations planned for the weekend, with my parents arriving from Sydney on Friday, it's all happening! Can't wait to tell you all about it!


Friday, 16 March 2012

Falling into place

Things have been a little hectic around here this week. Last minute party planning, things to do, things to buy,  lots of baking and cooking to be done, not to mention the cleaning. That's on top of all the usual day to day running around, kinder drop offs and pick ups, catch ups and play dates.

Phew, its been exhausting. But I'm grateful that it's all falling in to place. That it's all coming together. And I just can't wait.

Linking up with the ever lovely Maxabella.

Happy weekend my friends.


Thursday, 15 March 2012

party mode

I don't know where this month has gone. Lyla will be two in nine days. Nine days and my baby will be two. Can you believe it? I can't... that's why I had to say it twice. Time really goes by too quickly, now I understand why all parents seem to say that. Anyhow, I debated whether or not I would have a party for her. I was going to have one, then I wasn't and then on Monday I decided I would. Talk about indecisive and last minute! So this coming Tuesday I am having a morning tea to celebrate, with some of our dearest friends. I say to myself and all invited, that it will be nothing, it will be small and minimal fuss made. But then I find myself in full party mode, making pink ombre layer cakes, party bags and dreaming of over the top decorations.

I just can't seem to help myself. I have been shopping everyday for different things, I have been waking at night thinking about everything I need to do. Planing. Baking. List making. Anxiety. It is crazy here and my hubby wants to kill me {not really} I always go over the top. I can't resist. I love parties. {and it's not even meant to be a party, just morning tea!} But I love everything to be perfect and I have to do everything myself. It's like an obsession. I can't stop. I have to go over the top.

So if I am not around so much this week, forgive me, my mind is in full party mode.

What do you do for your kiddies birthdays? 

I hope your having a good week?


Monday, 12 March 2012

{the weekend} the long one

Work. Rest and then some more rest. Our weekends lately have been quiet uneventful, I must sound so lazy. But honest I'm not, alright maybe just a little. We had lovely friends over for dinner Saturday night, Sunday was swimming and yummy fish and chips, Monday, the bonus day, was spent at ikea then relaxing in our sunny backyard. All done as a family. Just the way I like it.

How was your weekend?

x jody

Friday, 9 March 2012

The Oreo Cake

Seems fitting that on Oreo's birthday week, I share my Oreo ice-cream cake recipe with you. I made this cake for the first time, for my brothers birthday the other day. He had requested an 'Oreo' cake and this is what I came up with. I adapted a choc chip cookie cake recipe that a friend had used recently and made it my own. So I can't take all the credit, but I did think I was pretty clever. Since then I've done some googling and discovered lots of people have done similar things. Turns out I'm not as special as I thought. Anyhow, this is what I did...

 Start this recipe at least one day before. I used the home-made Oreo recipe from smitten kitchen to make two large biscuits to from the top and base. I used a 25cm round springform tin for the whole thing. But you can use whatever size tin you like, just adjust the recipe accordingly. I have to say this cake was rather large and I have found myself eating it all week, which isn't a good thing. Smaller may have been better!

For the filling
2 litres good quality vanilla icecream softened {you could make your own but I didn't have time}
2 packets of original Oreo cookies crushed

Line springform tin with a couple of layers gladwrap, leaving a good 10cm over hang. Mixed together vanilla icecream and crushed Oreo's. Poor into tin. Shake to level. Place in freezer overnight. I removed the ice-cream part from the freezer carefully the next day and transferred it to another plate so I could use the tin to make the cookies to the right size.

For the large cookies {I doubled this recipe}
1 1/4 cups of plain flour
1/2 cup unsweetend Dutch cocoa
1 teaspoon bi-carb soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temp
1 large egg

{I made these on the day I needed the cake}
Preheat oven to 180 degrees. In a food processor or bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt and sugar. While on low speed add the butter and then the egg. Continue mixing until dough comes together in a mass.

Grease and line your tin. Push dough {one quantity of or as much as you need} out evenly onto bottom of the tin leaving almost an inch around the perimeter, to allow for it to expand during cooking. Pat down the top so it is fairly even and flat, you can even use a fork to indent around the edge or make any pattern you wish at this stage. Place in the oven and cook for 20 mins, {check after 15mins if your oven is hot} It will feel soft to the touch but will firm up as it cools and end up almost brownie like. Remove form oven and allow to cool a little in the tin, then transfer on to a wire rack to cool, topside up.

Then repeat, to make the bottom cookie. {or you could use two tins the same size and do two at a time, either way works. Just remember to double the recipe or use two smaller tins and adjust to your liking} Any remaining dough can be used to make smaller cookies for later.

Allow both cookies to cool completely. Place the bottom cookie on a serving plate then top with the ice-cream centre and then top with the remaining cookie. Serve immediately. Return any leftover cake to the freezer.

I wish I had taken photos of each step but time got away from me, so I hope I have explained myself clearly, let me know if you have any questions.

It really was delicious, simple to make and pretty impressive. Everyone loved it!

Happy weekend my friends! It's a long one here, I can't wait!