Thursday, July 28, 2011

Decorating with the New Neutral

Be bold and try something new in your home. Whether it’s adding a splash of colour or decorating to unite open spaces, Better Homes & Gardens have got the ideas to get you started!

Forget frilly and straitlaced. Original bay windows steal the show in the living room. Try neutral walls and fresh and inviting furniture, while adding a mix of chocolate and orange accents adds a jolt of contrast against a light backdrop. Add the finishing touches; a multicolor area rug and a collection of glazed jugs and fresh flowers to brighten the coffee table.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Infinite Heart Place Cards

Lead your guests to their selected seats with these delicate and beautiful place cards from Weddingstar. This ornate Laser Expressions Infinite Heart Folded Place Card adds a whimsical touch to your table top decorations. Available in six glorious colours these place cards will tie in with any theme.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Chocolate & Pear Tart


With its elegant topping of fanned pears, this tart looks and tastes like it's from a patisserie!

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients (serves 4)
75g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
2 tbs Dutch cocoa (see note)
80g pecans
50g dark chocolate (50% cocoa solids), finely chopped
80g cold unsalted butter, finely chopped,
1 egg
375g packet Carême All Butter
Puff Pastry (see note)
2 firm william bartlett pears
2 tsp plain flour
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 tbs icing sugar
Double cream, to serve

1. Process 55g (1/4 cup) caster sugar, cocoa and pecans in a food processor until pecans are finely ground. Add chocolate, 60g butter and egg, and process until mixture forms a paste.

2. Preheat oven to 220C and line an oven tray with baking paper. Place pastry on tray. Using a 24cm cake pan as a guide, cut out a 24cm round from pastry. Place a 21cm cake pan in the centre of the round, and, using it as a guide, score a 21cm round in pastry to create a border. Freeze tart base until needed.
3. Quarter pears, then core and cut lengthwise into 3mm-thick slices. Place flour, remaining 1 tbs caster sugar and pears in a bowl. Spoon over the vanilla, then, using your hands, toss to coat.
4. Spread chocolate mixture over pastry within scored round. Place similar-sized pieces of pear, tightly overlapping, over chocolate mixture (you will have some leftover pear). Melt the remaining 20g butter and brush over the pears. Bake tart for 15 minutes, then reduce oven to 190C and bake, covering loosely with foil if the pastry is over-browning, for a further 25 minutes or until pastry is dark golden and puffed. Set tart aside for 10 minutes to cool.
5. Dust tart heavily with icing sugar, then, using a kitchen blowtorch, caramelise pears. Serve the tart warm or at room temperature with double cream.

- Dutch cocoa, available from delis, has a more concentrated flavour and deeper colour than regular cocoa.
- Careme Traditional Pastry, from delis, is handmade using the classic French method. Substitute 2 stacked sheets of Pampas Butter Puff Pastry. 
- To fan the pears for a snug fit and an attractive finish, place the wide edge of each slice closest to the pastry edge. 
- To decorate, cut a cross section from an extra pear or a pear shape from the pastry scraps, and place in the centre of the tart before baking. 
- If you don't have a kitchen blowtorch, omit the icing sugar and glaze the tart with warmed apricot jam instead.

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Folded Heart Save-the-Date Cards

These cards unfold to reveal a weekend's worth of activities, which makes them ideal for weddings with multiple events. Download the clip art, fill in your wheres and whens – from the welcome dinner to the brunch – and hit print.

Tools and supplies

8 1/2-by-11-inch letter-weight paper in cream or white
Computer with printer
Bone folder
5-by-5-inch envelope
Basic How-To
Download the PDF in the color of your choice: green, orange, peach, or rust. Print the first page (the outside of the card) on one side of the paper. Then update the text in the boxes on the second page (the inside of the card); don't worry if some of the boxes look funny as you type; once you click on the next box, the text will pop into the proper position. Print this page on the other side of the paper.

1. Using a bone folder and straightedge, score all the way across each sheet, following the dotted lines. Fold the paper along the score marks, and press creases; then unfold.

2. Bring left and right hearts to the back to meet along crease. Collapse top and bottom.

3. Flip to the 'xo' side, and cut along the blue lines only (this ensures that the hearts stay attached).

Thursday, July 21, 2011

How To Make The Best Hot Chocolate

Chocolate lovers may be surprised to learn this confection was originally enjoyed as a drink. The Aztecs discovered that by crushing cocoa beans into a paste and adding spices, they could make a refreshing and nourishing beverage. Unlike our indulgent hot chocolates, the original would have been thin and bitter. Explorers brought the drink back to Europe in the 16th century where, once sweetened, it became popular as an expensive luxury.

To make the best hot chocolate:
- Use full-fat milk.
- Use high-quality chocolate – Swiss or Belgian chocolate buds are ideal. 
- Avoid chocolate powder as it can be too sugary and is hard to dissolve. 
- Avoid anything low-calorie – hot chocolate isn’t about calorie counting, it’s about indulging your appetite for a sweet, satisfying hot beverage.

Visit HomeLife

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Create DIY Gift Wrapping

Create inspiring DIY gift wrapping with this unique wooden label stamp from kikki.K
This gorgeous wooden stamp with a unique design and matching ink pad, is a must-have for all stationery lovers. Perfect for creating your own labels on notebooks, gifts or cards. The super cute canvas bag is too adorable to resist!

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Honey-baked Pumpkin Risotto

This Honey-baked Pumpkin Risotto makes a fabulous starter or a hearty main. It's guaranteed to be a winner.

Ingredients (serves 4)
900g pumpkin, peeled, cut into 1cm cubes
1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil
1/2 tbs honey, plus extra to drizzle
850ml vegetable stock
1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2cm piece ginger, grated
1 cup (220g) arborio rice
2/3 cup (160ml) white wine
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus extra to garnish
2 tbs mascarpone, plus extra to serve

1. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
2. Lay pumpkin in an even layer on a large baking tray and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, then remove and drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon of honey, tossing well to coat each piece. Roast for a further 15 minutes until cooked and golden.
3. Place stock in a saucepan and keep at a simmer over low heat.
4. Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in a large heavy-based pan over low heat. Add onion and stir for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add celery and cook for 1 minute, then add ginger and rice and cook for a further minute, stirring to coat grains. Increase heat to medium-low, add wine and cook until absorbed. Add stock a ladleful at a time, allowing each to be absorbed before adding the next. Continue for 15 minutes or until rice is cooked but still firm to the bite. Add lemon juice, pumpkin and parsley. Season, then stir in mascarpone.
5. Serve with a dollop of mascarpone, a drizzle of honey and extra parsley.

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Friday, July 8, 2011

DIY Wallpaper Decorating

Don't toss that scrap of wallpaper out, turn it into a style statement! Make over a hand-me-down side table with with wallpaper.

1. Paint the table with two coats of metallic paint and a coat of metallic glaze for extra shimmer. Let dry. 
2. Cut a scrap of wallpaper to fit the top. 
3. Coat the table with decoupage glue, position the paper, and cover it with several layers of decoupage glue. (Allow each coat to dry before applying the next.) 
4. Finish the top with a spray sealant.

Visit Better Homes & Gardens for more projects using a roll of wallpaper.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Chicken Curry Pies With Sweet Potato

Take a few shortcuts with this tasty chicken pie topped with mashed sweet potato.

Ingredients (serves 4)
700g sweet potato (kumara), peeled, coarsely chopped
Olive oil spray
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled, finely chopped
600g chicken breast fillets, cut into 2-3cm pieces
1½ tbs Patak’s Korma Curry Paste
2 tsp plain flour
400g can diced tomatoes
80ml (1/3 cup) water
150g (1 cup) frozen peas, thawed
2 tbs chopped fresh coriander
2 tsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp brown sugar
Steamed green round beans, to serve

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Cook sweet potato in a saucepan of boiling water for 12 minutes or until tender. Drain and return to pan. Mash until smooth.
2. Heat oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat. Sauté onion and carrot, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes or until soft. Add chicken and stir for 3-4 minutes or until browned. Add curry paste and stir for 1 minute. Add flour and stir for 1 minute. Add tomato and water and stir. Bring to boil. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat. Add peas, coriander, lime juice and sugar.
3. Divide curry among four 250ml (1-cup) capacity ovenproof dishes. Place on a baking tray. Top with sweet potato. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden. Serve with beans. 

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Friday, July 1, 2011

In The Right Direction


Add a nostalgic touch to your decor with these easy to use arrow shaped blackboards. Whether marking the path to a designated location or simply highlighting a table decoration, these blackboards will aadd a quirky and personalised effect to your reception.