Kenwood Boutique Event

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I was lucky enough to be invited to the Waitrose School of Cookery by Kenwood for the launch to food bloggers of their vibrantly coloured Boutique range of KMix.
Now I’m a real lover of Kenwood food preparation equipment. Not only do I have the hugely powerful and versatile silver Kenwood Major Titanium stand mixer, but I have the smaller almond coloured KMix hand mixer as well as the almond coloured KMix tri-blade stick blender which comes with 2 tri-blade heads, a whisk and small food processor.
To say I was amazed by the vibrancy of the new boutique colours was an under statement. Wow! You almost needed your sunglasses on when we walked into the cookery school to be greeted by the lovely staff from Kenwood, their PR company and the cookery school staff as well as these tables of food preparation finery & co-ordinating props.

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The magenta is such a girly girl colour.

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Whilst the blue offers a more masculine alternative.
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The orange reminds you of somewhere hot & tropical.
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The yellow is so zingy you can almost sense your taste buds tingling!
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The green is like a fresh cucumber on a hot day.
After cocktails or soft drinks, we were treated to a fantastic macaroon making class using the Italian meringue method. No waiting around for the shells to set with this recipe; you simply make and bake! Between the 24 attendees we made several different flavours, including pistachio, strawberry, apricot, liquorice and black currant. It was heaven in an almond flavoured shell!
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Being the first time I’ve made them (and quite frankly, this will not be the last time I’ll make them), I was really surprised at just how easy they are to make, especially under the expert guidance and instruction of our lovely chef.
I have to say a BIG thank you to the Waitrose School of Cookery staff, Clarion Communications and especially to Kenwood for their generosity afforded to all the participants in offering us an item from their new Boutique Range. I can’t wait for my Magenta hand mixer to arrive so that my daughter can learn to cook and bake alongside me using her own mixer.
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Carmela consults our lovely chef.
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Julie hard at work mixing the almond paste.
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The finished Italian Meringue ready to be mixed with the almond paste.
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Our piped macaroons.
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Chef’s baked macaroons.
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Pistachio, strawberry & lemon macaroons.
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Apricot & blackcurrant macaroons.

Special Agent Oso cake

Junior is a very special little boy who absolutely adores Special Agent Oso so I was asked if I could make a cake for his 3rd birthday.  First job for me was to make a Google search to find out exactly who Special Agent Oso was as my two children are much older and have outgrown such characters.

Turns our Special Agent Oso is a yellow bear!  Who would have known? Lol

This is what I created for him; a fondant bear which took an AGE to texturise. I was really pleased with the reaction I got when it was collected as they were expecting a simple, flat image, not a whole 3D character!

The sponge is an 8″ vanilla with a buttercream and jam filing, covered with fondant and then decorated.

Cupcakes, creatures and Holly Bell!

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This isn’t a recipe today, but I HAD to share with you my day out yesterday with none other than the very lovely Holly Bell.
I had a truly amazing day yesterday (29th). Two reasons; it was my mum’s 74th birthday and we had a family meal out, but before that I attended a course on cupcake decorating with Holly Bell (one of the finalists from the Great British Bake Off).
The theme of the day was creatures & flowers. We were welcomed by the very smily (and very genuinely warm & friendly) Holly at Bridge 67 Cookery School in Smeaton Westerby, Leics. We enjoyed a bite of breakfast over coffee, tea and juice, where we introduced ourselves and were presented with our itinerary and the most comprehensive & detailed set of instructions you could hope for.
Our day in the kitchen then began with a demonstration of Holly’s recipe to make the cupcakes. Then it was our turn to make ours. 12 cupcakes made & cooling later and it was on to making the fondant decorations.
Following a demonstration and with the aid of the wonderfully detailed set of instructions, we first cut some butterflies, flowers & leaves, formed them & left the to dry. (Forgot to photograph these, sorry!)
Next came the cutest little snails. I was surprised that mine did actually look like snails and not just strange slugs, but they really did! *happy dance*
We moved on to ladybirds & rose buds, followed by tortoises and plant pots. By now we were all flying with confidence under Holly’s expert guidance.
A break for lunch brought us beautifully crafted & presented sandwiches, crisps and home made biscuits to die for! There was even a glass of wine for those who wanted it!
Back into the kitchen afterwards we made buttercream that was as smooth and light you could float away as if on a cloud.
Now the assembly began! The buttercream was tinted as green as grass in the sunniest of meadows and our we ‘planted’ our roses and sat our ladybirds down in the sun beside them.
We rolled fondant & impressed a wood grain effect ready to place our snails; complete with a leaf or two to munch on.
Green fondant became grass on which our tortoise sat beside a pretty little plant pot of blooms.
A white full moon background became home to our owls; resting on a branch being all wise and seeing.
While others made ducks, I made robins and sat them on the sea of a swirly blue bird bath.
Holly taught us to pipe ‘roses’, ‘swirls’ and ‘high hat’ with buttercream on which we ‘landed’ our butterflies before we painted, glitzed and embellished them to shine & sparkle.
We were given lovely gold cake boxes into which we brought our creations home to share with our loved ones.
Mine came with us to the restaurant (complete with my cake stand) as a centrepiece for mum’s birthday. Mum loved them & they also received admiring glances and complimentary remarks from the waiters & waitresses too.
We sadly had to leave Holly and the cookery school at 5:15pm, but not before we were each given a bag of her wonderful homemade biscuits to enjoy later with a cup of tea.
Armed with the wonderful memory of a fantastic day with a fabulous teacher in the company if some truly talented and lovely ladies, not to mention incredibly detailed notes for our future creations, we hugged and sadly said our farewells. Not goodbye but see you again in the future!
Holly, I wish you the best of everything I would hope for myself. You have a wonderful personality, a kind nature & a skill in presentation & teaching that many would envy! May your future take you to the moon & back. Your butterfly wings have grown; let them unfurl and you will fly!
Love, hugs and thanks xxx