Happy Straya Daye

Today the 26th January is Australia Day !!! And every year I always wake up a little homesick, and I think I should get the day off too, but work just don't get it. By the time I have woken up my friends and family in Australia are well on their way into the day complete with BBQ's, Cricket, the Triple J Hottest 100 and most importantly.. beers! Apparently a new tradition of jelly shots was started this year at my friend Sarah house and I'm sure they went down a treat in the 30 degree weather.

Since I mentioned the Hottest 100, I cannot not mention why this year was awesome. My brothers band 'The John Steel Singers' came in at #52 this year with their single 'Overpass'. They have been doing so well and I think this is a great compliment to all the guys and their hard work. They only narrowly missed out last year being placed at 115, so this year they were well within the cut. I know this is a baking blog, but today my guest on What Laura Made is my brother Tim and this is what he's made/created/wrote/sung...

Back to the baking. I would to have done a Aussie spread, however since I don't get the day off I settle for a batch of Anzac biscuits. These biscuits are a lot like a flapjack if your not sure what they are, and purely because all the are made up of is flour, rolled oats, desiccated coconut, golden syrup and sugar.. you can't really go wrong and from the comments I got from my house and work mates, I think they came out alright.

Happy Australia Day and Happy Baking x

High Tea Society 2011

Yesterday was our first meeting of The London High Tea Society held at 'The Villas' aka my home. We have stolen this idea from my lady pals in Brisbane who have been doing this for awhile now and we have finally set up the London chapter. It is basically an excuse for myself and all my London lady pals to catch up and enjoy delish cakes, biscuits, sandwich's - or even pie, over a lovely cup of tea.

This High Tea was also the first for 2011 and was held for the return of a great lady pal, Meg, who has just returned to London for a few months after leaving us last May. Since it was such a special occasion we also allowed the boys to attend and they shirted up and acted like proper ladies.. I mean men!

We went through three stages, starting with some Earl Grey and Orange Darjeeling tea from Fortnum & Mason, you know that place where the Queen shops apparently. First up on the sweets side was my low fat gluten free brownies (made with beetroot..shhh!!!) which won some praises around the table and went down well with a dollop of cream on the side. And I caught Lady LauraK sneaking a second piece later that night. My scones were also a hit with some amazing strawberry and champagne jam which the guest of the evening also got from F&M. I wasn't 100% happy with my scones as I know I can do better, but everyone seemed to enjoy them, including myself.

Also in the first spread were sandwich's, chocolates, strawberries, macaroons, iced vovo's, shortbread and much more...

Guest of Honour ... Lady Meg

Second round was the cheese stage and Lady Lauren showed up just in time with her some smoked brie.. amazing! Also on the table was my housemate Mad Men Marco's delish bruschetta, I think this is definitely one of my favourite things he makes, I won't even attempt it when he's around.

And the last round was the Pumpkin Pie. I would love to say I made this one, it was delish. My housemate Lady Laurak made this one and it was amazing and perfect for round three.

All in all I think the first High Tea meeting was a success and the gym is going to be my friend this week.

Happy Baking x

ps. excuse the bad photos, I only have my iPhone to take photos on now as the heat seemed to destroy my camera in Australia, I will hope to rectify this soon.

Clean Up Cookies

As many of you are aware there has been some pretty bad flooding in Queensland, Australia. I live in the UK and many people here cannot get their heads around the size of the affected areas, I think the UK media reported the flooded area was the size France and Germany combined. I still can't even comprehend this myself. I was recently in my home town of Brisbane for Christmas and New Years and I was very lucky for this to happen after my holiday, however I still wish I was there to help out my friends and also strangers clean up the mess that has been left behind.  

I have hear many stories from my own friends about how this all unfolded and I think they were all quite lucky that their houses were not affected, however thousands were not so lucky.  

Many of my friends and family have all been pitching in where they can, some in SES call centers, some helping strangers clean houses and others looking after animals that were saved from the flooded RSPCA centre.  

Since I cannot do much from London besides send money, which to be fair would not be much - therefore I did what I know how and baked all weekend - with the help of my house mate as well, to be fair her white chocolate and pecan nut biscuits were the first to disappear. 

On the Baking Relief Menu  

- White Chocolate and Pecan Nut Cookies
- Giant Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Oat and Raisin Cookies
- Devilish Gluten Free/Low Fat Chocolate Brownies (with beetroot)

At the end of the day I raised £77.36 which is about $AUS 123.79... not bad for a few baked goods!

Happy Baking x  

PS. if you would like to donate to the flood affected areas please follow the steps on this link http://www.qld.gov.au/floods/donate.html

The Perfect Afternoon - My lady friends, some tea and lots of baking goodness!!!

I'm currently trying to settle back into my London life after spending a 4 week holiday back in Australia where I spent Christmas with my family and friends. I'm now into my second week back I feel slightly more normal and a little less homesick than I was last week. Not to say I'm not still homesick, but London is feeling like home again, but the amazing trip home has made me feel differently about a few things... but all for the better.

Anyway a little less self discovery and a little more baking and there was plenty of that while I was away. However one of my favourite events while I was a home was a Afternoon Tea that was hosted by my lovely lady friend Dee, which was aptly renamed 'High Dee' and what a lovely day it was. First of all many thanks to Dee for hosting such a lovely afternoon in her amazingly decorated 50's decor home. I didn't bake for this one as I had neither time or a kitchen handy, but there were many delicious treats baked by all my lady friends.. these girls know how to throw an Afternoon Tea.

Thanks to all the ladies who attended... and this is what they baked

Mini Lemon Meringue Pie
Gingerbread cake - one of my favourites.. well anything ginger is
Tracey's Chocolate, Blueberry and White Chocolate Tarts
Emily's Lamingtons - will a little help from Woolies
Bree's Bruschetta
Skye's balls
Dee's little biscuits
Meg's Meringues
My lovely ladywife Monica
Choc-chip biscuits
Annette's cheese platter.. so much cheese
Couldn't get a good photo - but this left over cheese tart was delish... by Tracey
The perfect host with her amazing dress, glass of wine and sweet cat

Happy Baking x