Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The BEST Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Ever!

I can not believe it. I've made a GF chocolate cake that has met all expectations of what a good cake should be from my distant memory of 'normal' chocolate cake. Every Sunday I bake for the school lunch boxes and there has been an ongoing debate in our house about which type of chocolate cake is due that week i.e. the soy flour gf one I have been making for the last year, or the 'hard to contest' Jo Seagar Deep Celebration one with regular flour for the more hardy members of our family. So this week I decided to amend the most popular choice (of the 6ft opinionated and hungry teenage son) to a gf version. And it worked! Thanks due to Jo Seagar, a great home comfort cook. Of course, it is only half the height but after three days it is still moist as you can see in the photo.

Even more surprising, everyone likes it which is a little upsetting for my 11 year old son who is precious about the gf food I make for him and his sister....

Celebration Chocolate Cake

2 cups gluten free flour (1 cup tapioca, 1/2 cup rice flour, 1/2 cup potato flour)
2 cups sugar
3/4 cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
1 cup strong black coffee
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup soya oil

Mix everything in a food processor until smooth and well combined. 
Pour into a greased and baking lined cake tin 23-25cm. 
The mixture is very runny - don't panic! Bake 180°C for approx 1 1/2 hours. 
Cool on a rack and ice when completely cold.

Chocolate Icing

125gm butter, softened
1 cup dark choc chips, melted
3 1/2 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Beat butter until smooth and creamy. Add remaining ingredients and beat until smooth. Enjoy!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Hello Dolly

I've been making ragdolls since I was very young. I made my own patterns, sewed them out of old sheets and stuffed them with sheep wool. That was kind of disappointing after some time when the grease from the wool started to stain the fabric! Sewing kept me occupied and happy as I lived out in the country and wasn't much of a farm girl. Fabrics are one of my favourite things - the colours, patterns and textures. I really should own a fabric shop in my next life!

It is only recently that I have gone back to dollmaking, after years of dressmaking and quilting - a few Santas from Christmas decorating and I've done a few for around the house. These are the ones from my bedroom:

 I'm a fan of the Amish style primitive dolls. The one above is leaning against a vintage cot eiderdown, one of my treasured possessions. I hang it from a quilt rack I made a few years ago at woodwork class as it is getting fragile with age.

That's me for today - I've got some new GF baking recipes to share next time I'm back.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


It's been a beautiful day here in Timaru - warm and sunny autumn weather. I should have been outside gardening or walking but I had planned to go to a crop day at Artfull Crafts all week. Mind you, the day started early with the boys playing rugby at 9am. I love the photo of Jack touching his dad's leg as they are being coached. The team are 5 and 6 years old - don't they look so little?!

Tim (9) played a great game. He may be small but he gets right into the thick of it. This year he is playing halfback and has scored a few tries in the last couple of games. Go Tim!

So on the topic of boys, here is my Kaisercraft Up, Up and Away layout I did today, titled 'Brothers'. I cut the moonride paper (hot air balloons) into circles and layered them on chipboard. This is another sample project for SENZ. I haven't done a layout for a while so it's motivated me to do another soon.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Time on my hands

Still off with unhealthy lungs...having these two days off has made me realise that the time I have for myself is so limited at the moment. I am LOVING the quiet house and free time! It's been the perfect opportunity to catch up on a few orders. Recent commissions have involved dogs and tractors lately - that's ok, as long as no one wants a horse. I have a thing about horses!

Monday, May 16, 2011

My life in stitch

Today I'm sharing one of my applique wall hangings I've made. I took inspiration from a quilt calendar I had a number of years ago. The funny thing about this quilt is when I was working on it, I was without a home, garden or cats and within the year I did. Now when I look at the quilt, which hangs above my bed, I wonder whether it was all part of the greater plan for me, and this helped to attract the life I have now?!

Even my Burmese cats Spike and Milly look the same....

Project day

I've got bronchitis at the moment so have taken a few days off work. In the weekend I lost my voice - I don't think I've ever been in that predicament before, even with trying to keep five kids under control! And all the tips I've learnt as a voice therapist (my bachelors is in speech and language therapy) had no effect whatsoever. Why is it that the kids continued asking questions and expected me to sort out their issues when I was incapacitated? Challenging, to say the least!

Today I spent time doing a Beyond the Page project using a Kaisercraft cube and Bo Bunny Gabrielle papers. The Artfull Crafts store (and staff) are heading up to Auckland next month for SENZ (Scrapbooking and Papercraft Expo NZ) and holding eight workshops. Liz is full of amazing ideas and the design team and staff are busy creating extra projects for display. So this was what I came up with. I'm not much of a scrapbooker so I was happy that I put myself out of the square, so to speak ☺

The photos are some of my favourites of my three youngest boys which I took down at Caroline Bay last autumn. In fact, the one to the left won a regional tourism competition and the boys' image, much to their delight, is on flags around Timaru and on the region's website banner.

The papers are such yummy tones of chocolate, sea green, chalk and apricot. I only used three from the collection because they were double sided and both sides coordinated so well.

I used Tim Holtz distress inks in Walnut Stain and Old Paper, Bo Bunny Gabrielle paper, Spellbinder dies, Martha Stewart punch, Kaisercraft lace and skeleton leaves and seaweed we collected from down at the beach.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Reflecting on motherhood

I am mum to five clever, funny, enthusiastic, squabbling and normal children (with plenty of other adjectives possible on any given day!) Today, being Mothers' Day, I will take a moment to reflect in our busy lives about how blessed I am to have these five people in my life and that I have the responsibility to help them find their way in the world. Time is precious. Love you all x

Friday, May 6, 2011

Picking up the pace

I started a new job this week, fairly unexpectedly but very timely as a few days later I had my hours cut at Polytech. I had only a few days to prepare for beginning of term classes teaching ESOL at a local high school. Five days in and I'm pleased that I took the position - great students and a friendly workplace. I have put in so many hours this week with working four jobs concurrently. Some late nights! Two jobs wind up next week so I'm nearly there. It hasn't been easy getting out the door at 8am each day, especially since the weather has just been appalling - grey, cold days and constant rain. Ugh.