gardening and cupcakes

Carrot cake. I love carrot cake. The fact that it showcases a beautiful orange vegetable and that it is complimented so well by a cream cheese frosting really puts it toward the top of my favorite cakes list.

After dreaming about the golden brown cake flecked with sweet carrot and crunchy toasted walnuts for a few days, I decided today was the day. I opted for a cupcake form (a personal favorite) and used a recipe from the Magnolia Bakery cookbook.

Magnolia Bakery, if you haven’t heard by now, is wildly popular in New York. Even if Magnolia is not your favorite cupcake purveyor (there are several ongoing debates on the subject, and for the record: Butter Lane is my #1) – you have to admit the smell seeping out from their storefront on Bleecker Street is intoxicating. I think they must fan it out onto the sidewalk to keep all the customers patiently waiting in the line around the block.


After decorating the cupcakes, it was out to dig in the dirt for me! Trish and I picked out a few things to round out her vegetable patch the other day. I planted capsicums (of assorted colors), strawberries, oregano and one of my favorite herbs, rosemary.

It’s been ages since I planted anything, but soon enough memories of mother’s day gardening flooded my brain. Good training for my future veggie patch.


Hello again, Brisbane

We’re back in Australia – and this time, for good.

Mr. F and I arrived in Brisbane a week and a half ago and we are lucky enough to be graciously housed in Kenmore Hills. We have to work out a few kinks (i.e. jobs) before making the big move to Sydney.

While in Brisbane, I have been keeping myself busy with some kitchen projects. Last week I learned to preserve – which is easier than I would have thought. Sterilize the jars, stew up something delicious and tighten the lid while warm. Presto. The recipes I’ve used are from the book A Year in a Bottle by Sally Wise. Minus a capsicum sauce that went terribly wrong last Thursday, it’s been a success.

The Moroccan-spiced tomato chilli relish I started with is fantastic. I’ve eaten it on sandwiches, crackers, omelettes and even with some grilled white fish. I’d like to mix it up and try out a few things that aren’t in the book – like pestos and tempanades. But there’s only so much preserving a girl can do over a few rainy days.

Other accomplishments have included: fashioning some fluffy, crunchy-crusted dinner rolls — picking out some more veggie additions for Trish’s garden — getting my new kicks out for some beautiful morning runs in Creekside Park

I am loving the “winter” weather – it’s just my speed!

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